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“Does it appear to you that it has stopped the outrages only, or altered the disposition of the people to commit outrages ?-It has stopped the outrages; I do not think the disposition of the people much altered.
“Can you judge of the causes that created that disposition to outrage ?— There are several causes : we have a very dense population, with I may say comparatively very little employment; the system of letting to middlemen I consider another cause, and the tithe also has been complained of as a cause.
any other exciting causes occur to you at this moment, as having contributed to create the outrages ? - The heretofore high rent of land I consider as another cause.
In what way occasioned—by competition ?-Decidedly by competition; people are very much in the habit, in my part of the country, of overbidding one another, for the purpose of getting possession of land.
“ Did it appear that the rent so paid was more in value than the produce of the land would authorize ?—Very frequently more than it fairly ought to pay.”—Minutes of Evidence, House of Lords, 1824, p. 181.
Justin M‘Carty, Esq., Magistrate, resident in the county of Cork.
“What do you consider to have been the immediate causes of the disturbed state of the country in your neighbourhood ?I conceive the immediate causes were the exertions that were made to seduce a very large population without the means of employment, and who were particularly obnoxious to the attempts of individuals, from the state in which they were placed from the revolution that took place after the war; and who were suffering from the fall of prices, from high rents, and the debts that they owed. I conceive the attempts that were made to disseminate those prophecies [of Pastorini] as one great cause. The immediate disturbances proceeded from individuals having been sent into the country to excite the people, and to take the lead."--Minutes of Evidence, House of Lords, 1824, p. 208.
Marquis of Westmeath, resident in the county of Westmeath.
“ You refer the disposition to disturbance which prevails more or less in Ireland, in a great measure to the miserable situation of the occupying tenants ?—I do, certainly, of a great many of the occupying tenants; the prosperity of an estate must more or less depend upon the proprietor of it, that is, the
person having the possession : but the proprietors, in many instances, have nothing to do with their own estates."'--Minutes of Evidence, House of Lords, 1824, p. 229.
Rev. John Keily, parish priest of Mitchelstown, county of Cork
“ Is not some of the most disturbed part of the county of Cork contiguous to your parish, Kildorrery?—The disturbances have come to the Rock Mills; in fact, I have traced the disturbances very early, and I have particularly traced them along the two highways from the county of Limerick to Cork. There are a number of carmen travelling constantly, I believe, extolling the system that then prevailed in the county of Limerick ; they made an impression upon the people as they went along, and they prepared them for receiving the system more than other parts of the county were prepared. Do
you trace the system from the county of Limerick ?From the county of Limerick undoubtedly to the county of Cork. If it was an object to the Committee, I would enter more into detail, because I have made it my particular study, and I published two letters in the Southern Reporter, addressed to Mr. Hyde, and signed a Well Wisher. I found, by some means or other, I was known to be the author, and I thought it right to stop; but the fact was, that the disturbances originated in the western part of the county of Limerick, through the conduct of Mr. Hoskins. The times were very bad for the farmers, and there was a peculiar kind of gentry, a kind of middle order between the rich gentry of the country and the peasantry; persons who were generated by the excessive rise of the agricultural produce during the war, and got the educa
tion of persons above their rank; by the fall of the times these were reduced to their original level. Without the habit of labour, they associated with the lowest description, and in order to keep themselves in the possession of their lands, and so forth, they deferred to the system, and hence, I believe, arose the organization in the system itself, that could not have been devised by the lowest order of the peasantry. In many instances, the persons alluded to had the cunning to keep themselves a good deal out of view, but when the system began to explode they left the country, and they carried the feeling with them in their course; some were outlawed, and some went from one place to another; they had friends, and as they went along they tainted others; that is, as far as I could learn. I undertook several journeys on purpose to make myself acquainted with the system, and from a vast relationship in the county of Cork, among a certain description of people, I believe I made myself tolerably well acquainted with it.”— Minutes of Evidence, House of Commons, 1825, pp. 401, 402.
. Rev. Thomas Costello, parish priest of Abington, county of Limerick.
“What was their distinct object ?-From the history of the disturbance, as it has now been found by experience, it appears that it originated in the conduct of a gentleman on the Courtenay estate. He was very severe towards the tenants, and the people who were in wealth previous to that, were reduced to poverty, and they thought proper to retaliate upon him and his family, and upon those who took their lands, and this was the origin of it; and the same spirit so spread all over the country, that if a person made an offer for another man's farm, a party was made up to attack him. If the landlord was considered severe, there were notices served, and his house attacked, and from this general principle private parties were formed who began robbing in the country; they demanded at every house a sovereign, as they said, to procure powder and ball for the general cause of redressing wrongs, but in fact they were only private robbers.
Was there anything in their oaths connected with the
subject of religion ?- Not as far as I have hearil.”—Minutes of Evidence, House of Commons, 1825, pp. 420, 421.
Major General Bourke, Magistrate in the county of Limerick.
“ Have you had any opportunity of observing the causes of the disturbances in other parts of the country which have fallen under your observation ?-I have, from sitting as a magistrate under the Insurrection Act, and from residing constantly in the country. I believe that, on the Courtenay estate, near Newcastle, where the disturbances commenced, there had been some oppressive measures adopted towards the tenantry; in addition to which I apprehend that the pressure of distress, occasioned by want of sufficient employment, by excessive rents, by low wages and prices, by tithes and local assessments, as also the general indisposition on the part of the people to respect the laws, owing, as I think, to the state of the law in Ireland, may be considered as the prominent causes of the disturbances.”—Minutes of Evidence, House of Lords, 1825,
Most Rev. Dr. Kelly, R. C. Archbishop of Tuam.
“ In the year 1820 very serious disturbances took place in the counties of Mayo and Galway?--In part of the counties of Mayo and Galway.
Does it come within your knowledge that the cause of those disturbances was attributable in any degree to the pressure of tithes ?_They generally complained of tithes, taxes, grand jury cesses, vestry cesses, the payment of the Catholic clergy, the high price of land : all those things together.
“ Were their complaints louder against the pressure of tithes than against the pressure of any other charges ? — No; they complained equally of high rents, grand jury cesses, and church rates.
“ Those disturbances were the origin of what are usually called the Whiteboy disturbances ?- They were called Ribbonmen.
Then the efforts of those Ribbonmen were not directed
specially against tithes ?-Not by any means; they were directed more against landlords.”-Minutes of Evidence, House of Commons, 1825, pp. 259, 260.
John Leslie Foster, Esq., M. P.
“ To what circumstances do you attribute the frequent recurrence of disturbances in Ireland of late years ?-I think the proximate cause is the extreme physical misery of the peasantry, coupled with their liability to be called upon for the payment of different charges, which it is often perfectly impossible for them to meet; the immediate cause of disturbance I conceive to be the attempt to enforce these demands by the various processes of the law; we are also to take into consideration that they are living under institutions for which they have neither much affection nor much respect. I have assigned what I conceive to be the proximate causes of the disturbances; I think the remote one is a radically vicious structure of society which prevails in many parts of Ireland, and which has originated in the events of Irish history, and which may be in a great measure palliated, but which it would, I fear, be extremely difficult now wholly to change. Your Lordships will have the goodness to observe, that any description which may be given of society, or indeed of anything else as it exists in one part of Ireland, does not apply to others; in truth there are different districts of Ireland almost as unlike each other as any two countries in Europe.
“ Have the goodness to specify the different charges to which the people are liable ?— The first and most important is rent; the next in importance I conceive to be the tithe; the third are the county-rates; and the fourth are the parochial rates; I mean the parochial assessments connected with the Established Church; the fifth and last head of contribution to which they are liable are the payments for their own clergy. I am not aware that there are any others.
No taxes ?-I am not aware of any direct tax to which the occupier of land is liable; there are indirect taxes of course, but of those they are unconscious. There are no