Irish Race in the Past and the Present
Aug. J. Thebaud

Part 10 out of 14

disappearing from living history. Ireland, then, does not stand
alone in that respect. She was the first to lose her nobility,
and she lost it more utterly than any other nation. But in the
variety of movements, complications, revolutions, which now go
to form the daily current of events in Europe, where do we find
the nobles regarded as a power, as an element calculated to
restore or even to preserve? The "noblemen" are well enough
satisfied nowadays, if they are not persecuted, proscribed, or
destroyed; if they are enabled to take their stand amid the
crowd of men of inferior rank and share in the affairs of their
country; content to see their names once so exclusively glorious,
set on a par with those of plebeians, to lead the modernized
peoples into the new paths whither they are rapidly drifting.
Nay, so low have the mighty fallen, that even dethroned kings
and princes sometimes ask to be admitted as simple citizens in
the countries which they or their ancestors once ruled.

Here the thought will naturally occur: If the phenomenon is
universal with respect to the position allotted now to men of
"noble blood"--since it is evident that for those nations which
feel no veneration for it a future history is designed, and that
future is to be utterly independent of such an idea--then
Ireland is no worse off than any other country in that regard,
nay, the veneration for noble blood perhaps exists, in its right
sense, now in her bosom alone, and, though no longer available
for any purpose, is still an element of conservatism worthy of
preservation and far from despicable.

Therefore, when we number among false hopes the one entertained
by a few Irishmen whose thoughts still cling fondly to the past,
and who would fain reconstruct it, it is not with the intention
of treating those aspirations slightingly, which we ought to
honor and would share, were there only the faintest possibility
of calling again to life what we cannot but consider passed away

II. Let us move on to the consideration of our second delusive
hope, one of a much deeper import, which to-day of all others
occupies public attention--a separate Irish Parliament and home-
rule government.

The desire for a separate Irish Parliament is certainly a
national aspiration, it may even be called a right; for the
people of the island can justly complain of being at the mercy
of a rival nation, of which they are supposed to form a part,
and are consequently heavily taxed for the support of it without
any adequate return. The day may not be far distant when this
wish of theirs will have to be complied with, as were so many
other rights once as strenuously denied.

Nevertheless it is our opinion, and we say it advisedly, there
is no reason for believing that this would prove a universal
panacea for Ireland's woes, sure to bring health, happiness, and
prosperity to the nation, uniting in itself all blessings, all
future success, all germs of greatness; nor is there reason to
believe that with it the resurrection of the nation is assured,
as without it, it would remain dead.

To speak still more clearly--the representation of a people by
its deputies being according to modern ideas an element of free
constitution for all nations, and Ireland having for so long a
time enjoyed a privilege very similar to it under her own
national monarchs, our object cannot be understood to depreciate
a political institution which seems to have become a necessity
of the times, owing to the eager aspiration of all minds and
hearts toward it. But we think it a delusion to imagine that, by
its possession, national happiness is necessarily and fully

Whatever may be the general experience of parliamentary rule,
its record for Ireland is a sad one. The old Feis of the nation
are not here alluded to; they had very little in common with
modern Parliaments, being merely assemblies of the chief heads
of clans, to which were added in Christian times the prelates of
the Church. Neither is the "General Assembly," which was
intrusted with legislative and executive powers by the
Confederation of Kilkenny, alluded to; this could not be
reproduced to-day exactly as it then existed.

The Parliament here meant is such as presents itself at once to
the mind of a man of the nineteenth century, with its members of
both Houses elected by the people, as in America, or those of
the Upper House in the nomination of the crown; its opposing
parties often degenerating into mere factions; its views limited
to material progress, and its aims and aspirations altogether
worldly; deeply imbued with the modern ideas of liberalism, yet
knowing very little, if any thing, of true liberty; often
following the lead of a few talented members, whose real merits
are seldom an index of conscience and sense of right.

Such a liberal institution as this, which, if proposed to-day
for Ireland by the English Government, would be hailed with
unbounded joy by all ranks of people in that country, would
nevertheless be no sure harbinger of happiness to the nation,
and, to repeat what was said above, the record of such an
institution in Ireland is a sad one.

There is no need of entering upon a history of Irish Parliaments.
If an impartial and fair-minded author were to take up such a
work, it might serve to open the eyes of many, and show them
that it is after all better to rely on Divine Providence than on
such an aid to national prosperity.

Dr. Madden, in his "Connection of Ireland with England,"
conclusively shows that the right of a free and independent
Parliament similar to that of England was granted to Ireland by
King John at the very beginning of the "Conquest." Such a
Parliament was granted to the handful of Anglo-Normans, who were
already busy in building their castles for the purpose of
reducing the whole mass of the clans to feudal slavery after
having deprived them of all their free national assemblies and
customs. For nearly four hundred years the Irish Parliaments,
when not completely subjected to English control, as they
finally were by "Poyning's Act," were mere legislative machines
devised for the purpose of subduing, cowing, and finally rooting
out every thing Irish in the land. The language of Sir John
Davies was very clear on this subject.

This being such a well-known fact to-day, it seems strange that
a writer who is so well informed, so acute and discerning, and
so thoroughly Catholic, as Dr. Madden undoubtedly is, should
attach such great importance to the institution of Parliament as
first granted by the English monarchs. They had in their eye
only the small English colony settled on the island, with all
their feudal customs, and no thought of granting liberty to the
mass of the nation. The case of Molyneux, which is so often
quoted and praised by Irish writers, should be set aside and
forgotten by any man animated by a true love for Irish
prosperity. It was merely a revival of the old parties of
English by blood and English by birth, without a single thought
of the rights of Irishmen. It was a case of siding with one
English party against another, both aiming at making Ireland a
colony of England, the while the unfortunate country was crushed
between them, certain in either case to be the victim. The
native race had nothing to say or do in the matter, beyond
assisting at the spectacle of their enemies wrangling among

The same remarks will apply to the pamphlets of Dr. Lucas, which
created so much interest at the time, and which Dr. Madden
quotes at such length. Lucas, it will be remembered, was a
violent anti-Catholic, and consequently anti-Irish partisan.

Yet the Catholic Association made all the use they could of the
arguments of Molyneux and Lucas, because these possessed some
vestige of the national spirit, inasmuch as they spoke for
Ireland, whose very name was hated by the opposite party; and at
that time the Association was perfectly right: but matters have
altered since then.

It is certainly strange that, when serious attempts were made by
Henry VIII. to introduce Protestantism into Ireland, not only
were Anglo-Irish Catholics summoned to Parliament, but even
native chieftains also, some of whom spoke nothing but Irish, so
that their speeches required translating.

But, as was previously shown, this was nothing more nor less
than a crafty device to make genuine Irishmen unconsciously
confirm, by what was called their vote, former decrees in which
the Act of Supremacy had been passed; to make it appear that
they had abjured their religion, and were now good Protestants;
and, worse still, to set in the statute-book, as acknowledged by
all, the law of spiritual supremacy vested in the king, of
abjuration of papal authority, of submission to all decrees
passed in England with the purpose of effecting an entire change
in the religion of the nation.

To such vile uses was the machinery of Parliament reduced.
Thenceforth it became an engine for the issuing of decrees of
persecution. Catholic members occasionally appeared in it when a
lull in the execution of the laws occurred, and they could take
their seats without being guilty of apostasy. But, by making
close boroughs of his Protestant colonies, James I. secured,
once for all, the majority of representatives on the side of the
Protestants, and, as a natural consequence, nothing more
grinding, sharp, piercing, and strong, could be imagined than
this engine of law called the Irish Parliament, as it existed
under the Stuarts. "Nothing" would be incorrect: there was
something worse; it came in with the Revolution of 1688, and its
results have been witnessed in a previous chapter.

Owing to the various oaths imposed upon members in the time of
William of Orange, no Catholic could any longer sit in the Irish
Parliament without abjuring his faith. And, thence-forth, the
state institution sitting in Dublin became more than ever a
persecuting and debasing power, intent only on making, altering,
improving, and enforcing laws designed for the complete
degradation of the people.

There came, however, a period of eighteen years, called "the
Rise of the Irish Nation" by Sir Jonah Barrington. It would be a
pleasure to set this down as a real exception to the whole
previous or later history of Ireland; but such pleasure cannot
be indulged in.

At the period referred to France had embraced the cause of the
North American colonies of Great Britain, and the English
vessels were not the only ones upon the seas. Large French
fleets were conveying troops to their new allies, and in 1779
the English Government sent warning to Ireland that American or
French privateers were to be expected on the Irish coast, and no
troops could be dispatched for the protection of the island.
Then arose the great volunteer movement. Every Irishman entitled
to bear arms enrolled himself in some regiment raised with the
ostensible design of opposing a hostile landing, but really
intended by the patriots to force the repeal of Poyning's Act
from England, to obtain for the Parliament in Dublin real
independence of English dictation.

The result is well known. One hundred thousand Irishmen were
soon under arms, who not only took the field as soldiers, and
formed themselves into regiments of infantry, troops of horse,
and artillery, but, strange to say, as citizens, sent delegates
to conventions, and demanded with a loud voice that England
should not only grant free trade to the sister isle, but
likewise invest the Irish Parliament with independent powers.

This political open-air contest lasted two years, and, on the
receipt of the news that the British army had capitulated at
Yorktown, and that the American War had come to a successful
termination on the side of the colonists, the Ulster volunteers
decided to hold a national convention of delegates from every
city in the province. On Friday, February 15, 1782, the meeting
took place at Dungannon, County Tyrone, and there the delegates
swore allegiance to a new and as yet unwritten charter, refusing
to acknowledge "the claim of any body of men, other than the
King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland, to make laws to bind this

The same resolution was adopted in successive meetings of
volunteer delegates, municipal corporations, and citizens
generally, all over the island.

The English Government could not resist the pressure. After some
attempt at temporizing and delaying the concession, on April 15,
1782, by the firmness of Grattan and his supporters in the
Dublin House of Commons, the great measure was finally carried

"That the kingdom of Ireland is a distinct kingdom, with a
Parliament of her own, the sole legislature thereof; that there
is no body of men competent to make laws to bind the nation, but
the King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland, nor any Parliament
which has any authority or power of any sort whatever in this
country, save only the Parliament of Ireland; that we humbly
conceive that in this right the very essence of our liberty
exists, a right which we, on the part of all the people of
Ireland, do claim as their birthright, and which we cannot yield
but with our lives." The italics are our own.

"The news," says Sir Jonah Barrington, "soon spread through the
nation; every city, town, or village, in Ireland blazed with the
emblems of exultation, and resounded with the shouts of triumph."

Within a month the whole had been accepted by the new British
administration. "The visionary and impracticable idea had become
an accomplished fact; the splendid phantom had become a glorious
reality; the heptarchy-the old Irish constitution-had not been
restored; yet Ireland had won complete legislative independence."

Thus does the kind-hearted author of the "Rise and Fall of the
Irish Nation" commemorate the great event. It is a pity that it
so soon ended, as it deserved to end, in smoke; for the
"unanimous vote" of the Dublin House of Commons was not sincere,
but intended to exclude from the benefit of the newly-acquired
liberty the great mass of the people; that is, all Catholics,
without exception.

Already, during the volunteer excitement, Catholics had looked
on at the movement with pleasure and hope that, at least, some
relaxation of the barbarous code enacted against them might
ensue. Unable to take an active part in the movement, the laws
not allowing them to bear arms and enlist, they willingly
brought such muskets as they possessed to give to their
Protestant neighbors. When the final burst of enthusiasm came at
the news that a free and independant Parliament was to meet at
Dublin, surely they were justified in expecting that, at last,
their natural and civil rights might be restored them in an age
so enlightened. They had heard too of the success of the
American colonies in winning those rights for all in their happy
country, beyond the Atlantic; and we may be sure that not a few
of them had heard how, at the conclusion of the War of
Independence, the chief officers of the American army had gone
in state with their French allies to the Catholic Church in
Philadelphia, there to join in thanksgiving to the Almighty,
before a Catholic altar. Moreover, they had Grattan and many of
the volunteers on their side.

The all-comprehensive phrase, too, had been inserted in the
resolution so unanimously carried, and made law by the British
Government: "We humbly conceive that, in this right, the very
essence of our liberty consists, a right which we, on the part
of all the people of Ireland, do claim as their birthright, and
which we cannot yield but with our lives."

Was it possible for the originators and successful promoters of
this great change in the government of the nation to interpret
such a phrase in a restricted sense? Did not the Irish Catholics,
the great bulk of the people, form a part, at least, of "all in
Ireland?" One would imagine so: yet what followed soon after
showed the preposterousness of such an idea.

The new Parliament met; several measures favorable to the trade
and manufactures of the island had been carried; but it was soon
found that the electoral law, as it stood, failed to correspond
with the altered circumstances of the time. The legislative body
was returned by an antiquated electoral system which could not
be said to represent the nation. Boroughs and seats were openly
and literally owned by particular families or private persons;
the voting constituency sometimes not numbering more than a
dozen. As a matter of fact, less than one hundred persons owned
seats or boroughs capable of constituting a majority in the

As everywhere else in revolutionary times, the question of
parliamentary reform was not debated in the Parliament only;
every man in the nation, each in his own sphere, took part in
the stormy contest which began to rage all over the island. The
volunteers were still in their glory. Flushed with victory, they
did not cease from their political agitations. In September,
1783, they met once more in convention at Dungannon, the
specific object of which, Dr. Madden tells us, was parliamentary
reform, and they then determined "to hold another grand national
convention of volunteer delegates in Dublin, in the month of
November following."

In that extraordinary assembly, the question of the rights of
Catholics was naturally brought up, and, to his honor be it said,
the Protestant Bishop of Derry proposed to extend the elective
franchise to them.

That some fanatics would oppose this motion was only to be
expected; and it would have caused no surprise to find the
opposition confined to a number of men of inferior station,
still deeply imbued with narrow Protestant ideas. But when the
leaders of the movement for national independence, Lord
Charlemont and Mr. Flood, appeared in the ranks of the
determined opponents of the proposition, it was cause for wonder
indeed. It was chiefly owing to the exertions and influence of
Lord Charlemont that the efforts of the revolution had been
finally turned to the side of freedom; while Flood was a greater
nationalist than Grattan himself, whose eloquence was so
memorable in the last momentous debates of the Irish House of
Commons. Flood carried his patriotism so far as to suspect the
British Government of not being sincere in its concessions, when
Grattan thought that "nothing dishonorable and disgraceful ought
to be supposed in motives until facts render them suspicious."

Nevertheless, it was Charlemont and Flood who stood firm for the
exclusion of Catholics from the franchise demanded for them by a
Protestant bishop; and Flood's plan was the one finally adopted.

In order to make a stronger impression on the public mind, a
number of delegates, who were also members of Parliament,
proceeded, on November 29th, directly from the convention to the
House of Commons, some of them dressed in their volunteer
uniforms, for the purpose of supporting the plan of Mr. Flood to
exclude the Catholics from the franchise.

In the midst of the tumult, the bill of reform failed, seventy-
seven voting for, and one hundred and fifty against it. There
was therefore no change in the Parliament, and Catholics
remained in their old position, in consequence of the blunders
of the chiefs of the volunteer movement for independence.

It is true that, at the same time, the whole volunteer movement
itself fell to the ground. From that moment it dragged on a
doomed life. "One would have thought," says Dr. Madden, "there
was national vigor in it for more than an existence of fifteen
years, and power to effect more than an ephemeral independence
which lasted only eighteen years."

But the Catholics had their eyes opened; they saw that the day
of resurrection was not yet come for them. It was not to be
brought about by any Irish Parliament. So far, therefore, we
were right in stating that the parliamentary record for Ireland
is a sad one. It should be said, however, that, from that time,
many Protestants, like the Bishop of Derry, Grattan, and others,
have always been firm in their demand for freedom to all, and
have remained the stanchest supporters of Catholic rights. What
we have hitherto called James I's Ulster colony, thus was
reduced to the Orange party; and, in that sense, the volunteer
movement was a real and permanent benefit to the country. There
is no need to mention the names of many distinguished Protestants
of our own times, whose whole life has been devoted by act, or
speech, or both, to the service of all. All honor to them!

But it is alleged that the Irish Legislature, as framed by the
Constitution of 1782, gave to the country an uninterrupted flow
of prosperity for eighteen years, and hence the volunteer
movement was of great benefit to the race, at least temporarily.
We will present the case in the strongest light possible
contrary to our own opinion, and for this we can do no better
than borrow the arguments of Mr. W.J. O'N. Daunt, in his
pamphlet on the "Irish Question" (1869):

"Accustomed as we are," he says, "since the Union-in 1800-to the
national distress and chronic disturbance attested by the Devon
Commissions, Famine Reports, and other official sources of
information, there seems something scarcely credible in the
account of Irish pre-Union prosperity-a prosperity which
contrasted so strongly with the condition of Ireland under a
Parliament which is called 'Imperial,' but which is essentially
and overwhelmingly English. But the accounts are given on
unimpeachable authority.

"Mr. Jebb, member for Callan in the Irish Parliament, thus
speaks of the advance of the country in prosperity, in a
pamphlet published in 1798:

"'In the course of fifteen years, our commerce, our agriculture,
and our manufactures, have swelled to an amount that the most
sanguine friends of Ireland would not have dared to

"The bankers of Dublin, tolerably competent witnesses, held a
meeting on the 18th of December, 1798, at which they resolved,
'that, since the renunciation of Great Britain, in 1782, to
legislate for Ireland, the commerce and prosperity of this
kingdom have eminently increased.'

"The Dublin Guild of Merchants did the same on the 14th of
January, 1797."

But this testimony and that of others whom we could quote was
the testimony of men opposed to the "Union." Let us look at a
few admissions made by the supporters of that measure:

"First comes its author, Mr. Pitt, who, in his speech in the
English House of Commons, January 31, 1799, having alluded to
the prosperous condition of Irish commerce in 1785, goes on to
say: 'But how stands the case now? The trade is at this time
infinitely more advantageous to Ireland.'

"Lord Clare, one of Mr. Pitt's chief instruments in effecting
the Union, published, in 1798, a pamphlet containing, as quoted
by Grattan, the following account of Irish progress subsequently
to 1782: 'There is not a nation on the habitable globe which has
advanced in cultivation and commerce, in agriculture and
manufactures, with the same rapidity in the same period.'

"Finally, Mr. Secretary Coke, in a Unionist pamphlet, said at
that time: 'We have had the experience of these twenty years;
for it is universally admitted that no country in the world ever
made such rapid advances as Ireland has done in these respects.'"

All this was undoubtedly true; and it is not our intention to
admire what was called the Union, nor to advocate it. Those of
the various writers cited, who spoke so dogmatically in the
above passages, had in their minds only material and external
prosperity, and that even of only one class of citizens. Those
who wish well to Ireland cannot be satisfied with this.

Not a single name of the favorers or opposers of the Union, here
quoted as witnesses, is Celtic. It would be interesting to know
what the Celts of the island, that is, the greater part of its
inhabitants, thought at the time, not of the Union, but of their
own Parliament, and how much of this great material prosperity
fell to their portion.

Surely they were all opposed to a Union which for a variety of
reasons had grown odious in their sight; but, did they, could
they, approve of the acts of their Legislature prior to the
Union with England? Were they satisfied with those tokens of
prosperity in favor of a class which had systematically
oppressed them? Even granting that they were Christian enough
not to feel envy at the success of their Protestant fellow-
countrymen, did they not, and were they not right to, rue the
day which, by an act of that same Legislature, shut them off as
a body from all those advantages.

For it must be remembered that it was at the instigation of many
of those volunteers who had been so ready to receive the muskets
from their Catholic neighbors, for the purpose of striking a
blow for liberty, that none of the penal statutes were repealed,
and the Irish Catholics continued to groan, at least as far as
the law went, under the fearful oppressions of which the last
chapter furnished a feeble sketch. Hence, to speak in their
presence of their commerce, of their manufactures, of their
agriculture, of the increase of their wealth, and so on, was a
bitter mockery, which they could not but resent in their inmost

Was the cause of all their miseries removed by such a free and
independent Parliament? Where could be the agricultural
prosperity of a people which was not entitled, legally, to own
an inch of their soil, or lease more than two acres of it? How
could they engage in prosperous trade when, at the suit of a
"discoverer," they were liable to be compelled to hand over to
him the surplus of a paltry income? How could they even
contemplate engaging in any manufactures, when the laws reduced
them to the frightful state of pauperism which we have
shudderingly glanced at? And those laws were preserved, and
retained on the statute-book, by the very men who vaunted of the
prosperity of Ireland!

It cannot, then, be too strongly reasserted that the social
position of Ireland had experienced no change whatever, and that
the separation of classes, spoken of with such well-merited
rebuke by Edmund Burke, still stood unaltered:

"They divided the nation into two distinct parties, without
common interest, sympathy, or connection. One of these bodies
was to possess all the franchises, all the property, all the
education; the other was to be composed of drawers of water and
cutters of turf for them.

Every measure was pleasing and popular just in proportion as it
tended to harass and ruin a set of people who were looked upon
as enemies to God and man; and, indeed, as a race of bigoted
savages, who were a disgrace to human nature itself.

"To render humanity fit to be insulted, it was fit that it
should be degraded."

And, even supposing the prosperity of which so much talk was
made to have been universal, so that all had a real share in it,
how long would it have remained so, if the Irish Parliament had
continued to exist, and not become merged in the English, or, as
it was termed, Imperial Legislature? How long could the two
separated bodies, sitting, the one in Dublin, the other in
Westminster, have acted in concert, without breaking out into
violent and mutual recrimination, with all its attendant evils?

The difficulty showed itself at the very outset, and when the
first question of the relative status of both Legislatures arose.

Mr. Fox, the great Liberal minister of the king, endeavored to
solve this difficulty by making a distinction between internal
and external legislation: Ireland was never to be interfered
with in her Parliament, with respect to her internal questions,
while the English legislative body possessed the right to step
in in all measures regarding external legislation. This seems
very much like what is now proposed by home-rule.

Here is the answer given to this in the tribune of Dublin by Mr.
Walsh: "With respect to the fine-spun distinction of the English
minister between the internal and external legislation, it seems
to me the most absurd position, and at the same time the most
ridiculous one, that possibly could be laid down, when applied
to an independent people.

"Ireland is independent, or she is not; if she is independent,
no power on earth can make laws to bind her, internally or
externally, but the King, Lords, and Commons of Ireland."

Mr. Walsh, a very influential member of the Irish House of
Commons, saw, as doubtless did many others, cause of disturbance
already for the mutual tranquillity of the two nations. And,
indeed, his fears soon showed themselves only too well grounded.
Dr. Madden tells the story;

"A month had scarcely elapsed since the opening of the new Irish
Parliament in 1782, before Lord Abingdon, in the British House
of Peers, moved for leave to bring in a declaratory bill, to
reassert the right of England to legislate externally for
Ireland, in matters appertaining to the commerce of the latter.
A similar motion was made in the British House of Commons by Sir
George Young.

"One clause of Lord Abingdon's bill stated that Queen Elizabeth,
having formerly forbade the King of France to build more ships
than he then had, without her leave first obtained, it is
enacted that no kingdoms, as above stated, Ireland as well as
others, should presume to build a navy or any ships-of-war,
without leave from the Lord High Admiral of England."

It is easy to foresee the pretty quarrel preparing. Once again,
then, it may be asserted that the record of Irish Parliaments is
a sad one.

But could more have been expected of it? Is the scope of
measures, within the capabilities of any legislative assembly of
modern times, comprehensive enough to embrace every thing of
importance to a Catholic people, such as the Irish nation has
ever been?

The general question of parliamentary rule is a very complicated
one. The modern Parliament is a very different thing from the
old assemblies of the representatives of various orders in any
state. With the Church originated those ancient institutions,
which in certain parts of Europe partook at once of the twofold
nature of councils and political assemblies.

This order has passed away, and no one thinks to-day of reviving
those time-honored institutions, however much political writers
may be inclined to favor despotism on the one hand, or anarchy
on the other. What, then, is the origin of the modern
Parliament? It grew into being in England during the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries, emanating as it were, slowly, out of
the decomposition of the old Parliaments; the aristocracy, and
the Church chiefly, losing more and more the influence once
belonging to them, which, in old times, made them paramount in
those state deliberations. This is one of the chief features of
the newly-modelled British Constitution, which is of very recent
growth, and became fixed and settled only after the downfall of
the Stuart dynasty, receiving additional modifications in the
contest of parties under the Brunswick and Hanover lines of

It is, consequently, an altogether British growth of recent date,
particularly well adapted for England, whose prosperity since
its establishment has ever been on the increase. But it is very
doubtful whether other countries have derived equal benefit from
its adoption.

Toward the end of last century, some few Frenchmen of note
attempted, with Mounier at their head, to reproduce a feeble
copy of it in France. Their failure is too well known to the
world: how their English ideas were scouted by the people, while
a far more radical revolution swept away every vestige of the
old French Constitution, without substituting in its stead any
thing save crude and infidel ideas, which resulted in anarchy.

The lamentable failure of the first attempt was no
discouragement to other political theorists; and the century has
witnessed and still witnesses every day essays at English
legislation, as embodied in the constitution of its Parliaments
chiefly, all over Europe; and all, as sanguine writers would
have us believe, to serve as the stepping-stone for the
"Universal Republic," which is to regenerate the world.

The great questions in all those assemblies are of material
interests, material prosperity, material projects. Of the moral
well-being of the people seldom or never a word is heard; and,
whenever a moral question does come up for discussion, the
vagueness of the theories advanced and discussed, the indecision
of the measures proposed, the want of unity in the views
developed, show how unfit are modern legislators for even
touching on what concerns the soul of man. The legislators
themselves feel that their character is far from being a sacred
one, and that the spiritual element is not comprehended in their
world. And they are certainly right.

Even the measures of external policy are not universally
successful in securing the material well-being of the people. In
France, at least, the various legislatures which have succeeded
one another have perhaps been productive of as much harm in that
regard as the liberty of the press and freedom of public
discussion, which have always had and always will have their
ardent advocates, and the existence of which is compatible with
public order in some countries, but not in others.

The same, with certain reservations, is true of the Spanish-
American republics, Brazil, and now of Spain, Italy, and other
European nations. The legislative machine which is found to work
so well in England, and what were or still are her colonies,
seems to get out of order in climates and among nations
unaccustomed to it, even as far as material prosperity is

But it is neither our object to write a history of Parliaments,
nor absolutely to condemn those modern institutions by the few
words devoted to them. All we wish to insist upon is, that all
the evils of nations are not cured by them, and that they should
not be taken as in themselves absolutely desirable and all-

As to their probable fate in the future, their modern dress is
not yet two centuries old, and the seeds of decay already appear
in many places. A few questions are sufficient to demonstrate
this: Can a Parliament, as understood to-day, last for any
length of time and work successfully, when composed for a great
part of corrupt legislators who have been returned by corrupt
electors? Has not the progress of corruption on both sides,
elected and electors, been of late alarmingly on the increase?
What space of time is requisite for legislation to come to a
stand-still, and prove to modern nations the impossibility of
carrying on even material affairs with such corrupt machinery?
It requires no great foresight to reply to these questions.

And yet it is on this tottering institution that the Ireland of
our days has set her hope. She imagines that, this once gained,
prosperity and happiness are insure; that, without it, she
cannot but be discontented, as she is and must be if she
possesses any feeling. And such is the anomaly of her position
that, with this conviction firmly set before us, we believe she
is right in demanding home-rule, and that by insisting upon it
she will eventually attain it; yet are we convinced that, having
obtained it, her evils will not be cured, nor her happiness
served. We prize her highly enough to think her worthy of
something better, which "something" we are sure God keeps in
reserve for her.

Suppose her earnest wish granted, and a home Parliament given
her. Suppose even the old question of her relations with the
English Legislature determined. A great difficulty has been
settled satisfactorily, though it is difficult to see how this
may come about. But supposing the questions for her discussion
and free-determination being clearly defined, home-rule becomes
possible without exciting the opposition of the rival Parliament
of Great Britain.

What is likely to be the composition of her state institution?
and what the programme of its labors?

In the composition of her two Houses, if she have two, the
Catholics will not be excluded as they were in 1782; a great
change certainly, and fraught no doubt with great benefit to the
country. But will the English element cease to predominate? The
native race has been kept so long in a state of bondage that few
members of it certainly will take a leading part in the
discussions. How many even will be allowed to influence the
election of members by their votes or their capacity? Universal
suffrage can scarcely be anticipated, perhaps even it would not
be desirable. The question is certainly a doubtful one. Of one
thing are we certain regarding the composition of an Irish
Parliament: it would not really represent the nation.

For the nation is Catholic to the core; the sufferings of more
than two centuries have made religion dearer to her than life;
all she has been, all she is to-day, may be summed up in one
word--Catholic. Nothing has been left her but this proud and
noble title, which of all others her enemies would have wrested
from her. The nation exists to-day, independently of
parliamentary enactments, in spite of the numberless
parliamentary decrees of former times; she is living, active,
working, and doing wonders, which shall come under notice. See
how busy she has been since first allowed to do. Her altars, her
religious houses, her asylums, every thing holy that was in
ruins--all have been restored.

Not satisfied with working so energetically on her own soil, she
has crossed over to England, where the great and unexpected
Catholic revival, which has struck such awe and fear into the
hearts of sectarians, is in great measure due to her.

Cross the broad Atlantic, and even the vast Southern Ocean, and
the contemplation of Irish activity in North America, Australia,
and all the English colonies, the intense vitality displayed by
this so long down-trodden people is amazing. But all this
activity, all this vitality, is employed in establishing on a
firm and indestructible basis everywhere the holy Catholic

Looking on all this, say then whether Ireland is truly Catholic,
whether the nation is any thing but Catholic.

But can her new Parliament be Catholic?

No! No one imagines such a thing possible; no one thinks, no one
dreams of it. It is clear, then, that it cannot represent the

Who will go to compose it? Men who will discard-such is the
modern expression-discard their creed, and leave it at the door.
Nothing better can be expected. It is true that the bitter
feeling engendered for so long a time by religious questions is
not likely to show itself again; or though, to speak more
correctly, a religious question never was raised in Ireland, the
whole people being one on that subject; but it may be hoped that
the bitter persecution against every thing Catholic is not
likely to recur, whatever may be the composing elements of the
new Houses of Parliament.

In the impossibility of even guessing at the probable opinions
of the men who are to have the future fate of Ireland in their
hands, it may be fairly predicted that, within their legislative
halls, religious and consequently moral questions will only be
approached in the spirit of liberalism. Probably, the only thing
attempted will be the rendering of the people externally happy
and prosperous, supposing the majority of the members animated
by true patriotic principles; and indeed the aspirations of all
who wish well to Ireland are limited to external or material
prosperity; and, for our own part, we do not consider this of
slight moment. But is this all that the Irish people require?

They have been brought so low in the scale of humanity that
every thing has to be accomplished to bring about their
resurrection; and the "every thing" is comprised in substituting
flesh-meat for potatoes and good warm clothing for rags. Whoever
says that the Irish people can be contented with such a
restoration as this, knows little of their noble nature, and has
never read their heart.

Assuredly, they have a right to those worldly blessings of which
they have been so long deprived; and we would not be understood
as saying that one of the primary objects of good government is
not to confer those material blessings on the people; nay, it is
our belief that, when a whole nation has been so long subjected
to all the evils which not only render this life miserable, but
absolutely intolerable, it is incumbent on those intrusted with
the direction of affairs to remedy those evils instantly, and
endeavor to make the people forget their misfortunes by, at
least, the enjoyments of this life's ordinary comforts.
Forgetfulness of the past can be obtained by no other means. And
this is a very simple, but, at the same time, very satisfactory
answer to the question so often put and so often replied to in
such a variety of ways, "Why is Ireland discontented?"

But, while admitting the truth, nay, the necessity of all this,
the government of a Catholic people has not fulfilled its whole
duty when it has exerted itself to the utmost to procure, and
finally succeeded in procuring, the temporal happiness of the
nation. In addition to this, it must consult its moral and
religious wants, or a great part of its duty remains neglected.

This, indeed, does not nowadays occur to the minds of the
majority of men, who have, it would appear, agreed among
themselves to consider it an axiom of government that the rulers
of a people should have no other object in view than the
material comfort and welfare of the masses. They do not reflect
that the wants of a nation must be satisfied in their entirety,
and that its moral and religious needs are of no less importance,
to say the least, than the temporal. This is evident in all
those countries where, in imitation of England, or at her
instigation, parliamentary governments are now in operation--
countries which include not only Europe, without excepting
Greece and her chief islands, but Southern Africa at the Cape,
America, North and South, Australia, and the, large islands of
Jamaica, Tasmania, New Zealand, and several groups of Polynesia,
preparing Asia for the boon which, probably, is destined to show
itself in Japan first, spreading thence all over the largest
continent of the world.

Wherever modern Parliaments flourish, there material interests
alone are consulted. This is a new feature of Japhetism; and God
alone knows how long nations will be satisfied with such a state
of things!

But if non-Catholic nations thus limit their aspirations, there
is all the more reason why a Catholic people cannot imitate them
in such a course, particularly if that people has for centuries
submitted to every evil of this life in order to preserve its
religion, showing that, in its eyes, religious blessings rank
far above all imaginable material advantages; and we all know
such to be the case for Ireland.

But, it may be asked, what are those religious wants which must
be satisfied, and how are we to know them? The answer, to a
Catholic, is plain, and nothing is easier of recognition. What
the spiritual guides of the nation consider of paramount
importance and of absolute necessity, is of that character, and
the government which neglects to listen to remonstrances coming
from such a quarter, shows thereby that it is ignorant of, or
slights, its plain duty. Ever since the load of tyranny, which
weighed down the Irish people, has been removed, if not entirely,
at least suffered a very appreciable reduction, since the
rulers of the Church in that unhappy country have been able to
lift up their voice, and proclaimed what they considered of
supreme importance to those under their charge, is it not a
strange truth that their voice has never ceased remonstrating,
and that, at this very moment, it is as loud in protestation as
ever? When has it been listened to as it should be? Is it likely
to meet more regard if Ireland obtains home-rule? It grieves us
to say that the only answer which can be given to this last
question is still an emphatic "No!"

And for the very simple reason, already given, that Ireland
cannot have a truly Catholic Parliament, and that all the great
measures which would occupy the attention of the Catholic
members, in the event of their meeting at Dublin, would be
shemes for the advancement of manufactures, trade, the
construction of ships, tenant-right laws, etc.; all very
excellent things in their way, and to which Ireland has an
undoubted right, which will be strongly contested, and in the
struggle for which she may again be worsted; which, even if she
obtains, will not enable her to compete with England, and which,
after and above all, do not correspond to the heart-beat of the
nation--the restoration complete and entire of the Catholic
Church all over her broad land.

It may be well to remark that the broad assertion just laid down
involves no reprisals against the rights of the minority. That
minority, backed by the English Government, has enjoyed nearly
three centuries of oppression and tyranny, has taxed human
ingenuity to the utmost for the purpose of concocting schemes of
destruction against the majority: it has failed. The majority,
which at last breathes freely, can well afford not to raise a
finger in retaliation, and to leave what is called freedom of
conscience to those who so long refused it. The result may be
left to the operation of natural laws and the holy workings of
Providence. But their religious rights ought, at east, to be
secured to them entire; the rights of their Church to be left
forever perfectly free and untrammelled.

But, how much has been done against this, even of late? Why has
a Protestant university so many privileges, while a similar
Catholic institution is refused recognition? To answer what
purpose have the Queen's Colleges been established? The Catholic
bishops certainly possess rights with regard to the education of
their flocks; with what persistence have not those rights been
either attacked or circumvented! If the Protestant Establishment
has been finally abolished, have not its ministers obtained by
the very act of abolition concessions which give them still
great weight, morally and materially, in the scale opposed to
Catholic proselytism, nay, preservation? Is it not a stain even
yet, if not in the eye of the law, at least in that of the
English colonized in Ireland, to be a "Roman Catholic?" Is
"souperism" so completely dead that it never can revive? How
many means are still left in the hands of the Protestant
minority to vex, annoy, and impoverish the supposed free

Whoever considers the matter seriously cannot but acknowledge
that in Ireland there exists still a vast amount of open or
silent opposition to the Church of the majority, and a Church
which the majority loves with such deep affection that, so long
as the least remnant of the old oppression remains, so long must
Ireland remain discontented.

And it is more than doubtful whether home-rule would be a
sufficient remedy for such a state of things, owing to the fact,
already insisted upon, that the new Parliament could not be a
Catholic Parliament.

The reader may easily perceive what was meant by saying that the
entire restoration of the Catholic Church in the island does not
suppose the consequent extirpation of heresy; but it clearly
supposes the perfectly free exercise of all her rights by the
Church. Nothing short of this can satisfy the Irish people.

III. We pass on to the consideration of a third delusive hope,
that of the people regaining all their rights by the
overwhelming force of numbers and armed resistance to tyranny--
the advocacy of physical force, as it is called; in other words,
the right and necessity of open insurrection, or underhand and
secret associations, evidently requiring for success the
cooperation of the numerous revolutionary societies of Europe: a
criminal delusion, which has brought many evils upon the country,
and which is still cherished by too many of her sons. Though we
purpose speaking freely on this subject, we hope that our
language may be that of moderation and justice.

To a Catholic, who has either witnessed or heard of the
frightful evils brought on modern nations by the doctrine of the
right of insurrection, of armed force, of open rebellion,
against real or fancied wrong, that doctrine cannot but be
loathsome and detestable.

True, there is for nations, as for individuals, something
resembling the right of self-defence. No Catholic theologian can
assert that a people is bound to bow under the yoke of tyranny,
when it can shake that tyranny off; and it is this truth which
affords a pretext to many advocates of what is called the right
of insurrection. Moreover, there is no doubt that, in the case
of Ireland particularly, the Irish had for many centuries a
legitimate government of their own, and when attacked by
foreigners, who landed on their shores under whatever pretext,
they had a perfect right, nay, it was the duty of the heads of
clans, the provincial kings and princes, to protect the whole
nation, and the part of it intrusted to their special care in
particular, against open or covert foes. The name of "rebels"
was given them by the invaders, with no shadow of possible
pretext, and the name was as justly resented as it was unjustly

Under the Stuart dynasty the state of the case is still more
clear: for then they were fighting on the side of the English
sovereigns to whom they had submitted; and, in waging war
against the enemies of their king and country, they were not
only enforcing their right, but performing a highly-meritorious
and in some cases heroic duty. Yet the name of "rebels" was
again applied to them, and its penalty inflicted upon them, as
has been seen.

After their complete subjugation, the right of retaliating on
their oppressors, even if justifiable in theory, was often
illusory and indefensible in fact, because of the impossibility
of successful resistance; and the secret associations known
under the names of "Tories," "Rapparees," "White Boys,"
"Ribbonmen," were, with the exception of the first, condemned by
the Church.

But in modern times the right of insurrection cannot possibly be
defended, if, as can scarcely be avoided, the cause of a
Catholic nation is linked with the various revolutionary
societies and conspiracies which disgrace modern Europe,
endanger society, and have all been condemned by the sovereign

An extensive discussion of both cases--the stubborn resistance
made after the fall of the Stuarts, and some of the attempts at
independence of later times--would show at once the difference
between the two cases, and prevent thinking men from ranking the
"Tories" of ancient times with the avowed revolutionists of our
days. Mr. Prendergast has given a fair sketch of the former in
the second edition of his "Cromwellian Settlement."

The reader who may peruse this very interesting account can
notice a remarkable coincidence; one, however, which to our
knowledge has not yet been pointed out: the very scenes enacted
in Ireland, during the long resistance offered to oppression
after the downfall of the Stuart dynasty, were reenacted in
France during the Reign of Terror, and for some time after,
throughout the districts which had risen in insurrection against
the tyranny of the Convention, and both cases were certainly
examples of right warring against might.

In fact, to a person acquainted with the history of the violent
changes which, during the last century, modern theories,
metaphysical systems, and, above all, the working of secret
societies, have caused, the reading of the history of England
and Ireland, from the Reformation down, offers new sources of
interest, by showing how the last frightful convulsion in France
was merely a copy of the first in England, at least as far as
the means employed in each go, if not in the ultimate object.

In England the revolution was begun by the monarch himself, with
a view of rendering his power more absolute and universal by the
rejection of the papal supremacy, and, consequently, the
destruction of the Catholic Church. In France the revolution was
begun by the leaders of the middle classes, who made use of the
immense power given them by the secret societies which then
flourished, and the influence of an unbridled press, to destroy
royalty and aristocracy, that they might themselves obtain the
supreme power and rule the country. The object of the two
revolutions was therefore widely different; but the means
employed in bringing them about, when considered in detail, are
found to have been perfectly identical.

In both countries, on the side of the revolutionary party or of
the National Assembly, various oaths were imposed and enforced,
troops dispatched, battles fought, devastating bands ravaged the
country while in a state of insurrection, the same barbarous
orders in La Vendee as in Ireland, so that the language even
employed in the second case is an exact counterpart of that in
the first. There is destruction resolved upon; then the
authorities desisting and resolving on a change of policy,
though with a rigid continuance of the police measures,
including in both cases "domiciliary visits," inquests by
commissioners, courts-martial in the first case, revolutionary
tribunals in the second--consequent wholesale executions on both
sides. There were the decrees of confiscation carried out with
the utmost barbarity, resulting in sudden changes of fortune,
the class that was aristocratic being often reduced to beggary,
while its wealth was enjoyed by the new men of the middle
classes. The peasants derive very little benefit from the
revolution in France--none whatever, or rather the very reverse
of benefit, in Ireland. And, to go into the minutest details,
there are the same informers, spies, troops of armed police, or
adventurers on the hunt to discover, prosecute, and destroy the
last remnants of the insurgents in France as well as in Ireland.

In considering the religious side of the question, the parallel
would be found still more striking, as the proscribed ministers
of religion were of the same faith in France as in the British
Isles, while the means adopted for their destruction were
exactly similar.

On the side of the insurgents the same comparison holds good. In
both cases there is the first refusal to obey unjust decrees,
the same stubborn opposition to more stringent acts of
legislature, the emigration of the aristocratic classes, the
devotedness of the clergy, with here and there an unfortunate
exception, the same mode of concealment resorted to--false doors,
traps, secret closets, disguise, etc.; the flying to the
country and concealment in woods, caves, hills, or mountains;
and, when the burden grows intolerable, and open resistance,
even without hope of success, becomes inevitable, there are the
same resources, method of organization, attack, call to arms,
call to Heaven, the same heroism: yes, and the same approval of
religion and admiration of all noble hearts throughout the world.

The only difference consists in the fact that in France the
struggle lasted a few years only; in Ireland, centuries. In
France the fury of the revolution soon spent itself in horrors;
in Ireland the sternness of the persecuting power stood grim and
unrelaxing for ages, adding decree to decree, army to army. In
France, numerous hunters of priests and of "brigands," as they
were called, flourished only for a short decade of years; in
Ireland similar hunters of priests and of "Tories" carried on
their infamous trade for more than a century.

In the case of the latter country, too, the confiscation was
much more thorough and permanent, the emigration complete and
final; but, in both cases, the Catholic religion outlived the
storm, and lifted up her head more gloriously than ever as soon
as its fury had abated.

Finally, to come to the point, which calls now more immediately
for attention, if the campaigns of Owen Roe O'Neill, of
Brunswick, and Sarsfield, were the models of the great
insurrection of La Vendee and Brittany, the bands of "Tories"
and "rebels," scattered through Ireland at the time of the
Cromwellian settlement, gave an example for the "Chouan" raids
which in France followed the blasted hopes of the royalists.

How ought both cases to be considered with reference to the
general rules of morality? How were they considered at the time
by religious and conscientious men?

There is no doubt that excesses were committed by Tories in
Ireland, and Chouans in France, which every Christian must
condemn; but there can also be little doubt that such of them as
were not deranged by passion, but allowed their inborn religious
feelings to speak even in those dreadful times, were restrained,
either by their own consciences or by the advice of the men of
God whom they consulted, from committing many crimes which would
otherwise have resulted from their unfortunate position. All
this, however, resolves itself into a consideration of
individual cases which cannot here be taken into account.

Our only question is the cause of both Tories and Chouans in the
abstract. From the beginning it was clearly a desperate cause,
and, admitting that the motive which prompted it was generous,
honorable, and praiseworthy, nothing could be expected to ensue
from its advocacy but accumulated disaster and greater
misfortunes still. Of either case, then, abstractly considered,
religion cannot speak with favor.

But, when an impartial and fair-minded man takes into
consideration all the circumstances of both cases, particularly
of that presented in Ireland, as given by Mr. Prendergast, with
all the glaring injustice, atrocious proceedings, and barbarous
cruelty of the opposing party taken into account, who will dare
say that men, driven to madness by such an accumulation of
misery and torture, were really accountable before God for all
the consequences resulting from their wretched position?

In the words quoted by the author of the "Cromwellian Settlement:"
"Had they not a right to live on their own soil? were they
obliged in conscience to go to a foreign country, with the
indelible mark left on them by an atrocious and originally
illegitimate government?" And, if the simple act of remaining in
their country, to which they had undoubtedly a right, forced
them to live as outlaws, and adopt a course of predatory warfare,
otherwise unjustifiable, but in their circumstances the only
one possible for them, to whom could the fault be ascribed? Are
they to be judged harshly as criminals and felons, worthy only
of the miserable end to which all of them, sooner or later, were
doomed? Is all the reproach and abuse to be lavished on them,
and not a breath of it to fall on those who made them what they
were? Who of us could say whether, if placed in the same position,
he would not have considered the life they led, and the inevitable
death they faced, as the only path of duty and honor?

We are thoroughly convinced that the first Irish "Tories" deemed
it their right to make themselves the avengers of Ireland's
wrongs, and consider themselves as true patriots and the heroic
defenders of their country, and that many honorable and
conscientious men then living agreed with them. And the people,
who always sided with and aided them, had after all certainly a
right to their opinion as the only true representatives of the
country left in those unfortunate times.

Thus far we have considered the right of resistance on the part
of the old "Tories;" we now come to what has been called the
second case--the right of insurrection advocated by modern
revolutionists, chiefly when connected with the unlawful
organizations so widely spread to-day. This, indeed, is the
great delusive hope of to-day, which must be gone into more
thoroughly, in order to show that Ireland, instead of
encouraging among her children the slightest attachment to the
modern revolutionary spirit, ought to insist on their all, if
faithful to the noble principles of their forefathers, opposing
it, as indeed the great mass of the nation has opposed it,
strenuously, though it has met with the almost constant support
of England, who has spread it broadcast to suit her own purposes.
Ireland's hope must come from another quarter.

Let us look clearly at the origin and nature of this
revolutionary spirit, so different from the lawful right of
resistance always advocated by the great Catholic theologians.

The nature of this spirit is to produce violent changes in
government and society by violent means; and it originated in
first weakening and then destroying the power of the Popes over
Christendom. Two words only need be said on both these
interesting topics--words which, we hope, may be clear and

The very word revolutionary indicates violence; and it is so
understood by all who use it with a knowledge of its meaning. A
revolutionary proceeding in a state, is one which is sanctioned
neither by the law nor the constitution, but is rapidly carried
on for any purpose whatever. Violence has always been used in
the various revolutions of modern times, and, when people talk
of a peaceful revolution, it is at once understood that the term
is not used in its ordinary significance.

On this point, probably, all are agreed; and, therefore, there
is no need of further explanation. On the other hand, many will
be inclined to controvert the second proposition; and, therefore,
its unquestionable truth must be shown.

That the position held by the Popes at the head of Christendom
for many ages was of paramount influence, and that to them, in
fact, is due the existence of the state of Europe, known as
Christendom, is now admitted almost by all since the
investigations of learned and painstaking historians,
Protestants as well Catholics, have been given to the world. But
had the Popes any particular line of policy, and did they favor
one kind of government more than another? This is a very fair
question, and well worthy of consideration.

Any kind of government is good only according to the
circumstances of the nation subjected to it. What may suit one
people would not give happiness to another, and democratic,
aristocratic, or monarchical governments, have each their
respective uses, so that none of them can be condemned or
approved absolutely. No one will ever be able to show that the
Roman Pontiffs held any exclusive theory on this subject, and
adopted a stern policy from which they did not recede.

But a positive line of policy they did hold to, namely, the
insuring the stability of society by securing the stability of

Whoever reads the life of Gregory VII side by side with that of
William the Conqueror, is at first astonished to find Hildebrand,
who, though not yet Pope, was already powerful in the counsels
of the Papacy, favoring the Norman king, although William
eventually proved far from grateful. But, when the reader comes
to inquire what can have moved the great monk to take up this
line of action, he will find that a deep political motive lay at
the bottom of it, which throws a flood of light over the policy
of the Popes and the history of Europe during the middle ages.
He finds Hildebrand persuaded that William of Normandy possessed
the true hereditary right to the crown of England, and the
policy of the Popes was already in favor of hereditary right in
kingdoms, thereby to insure the stability of dynasties, and
consequently that of society itself.

Harold, son of Godwin, belonged in no way to the royal race of
Anglo-Saxon kings. The Dukes of Normandy had contracted
alliances by marriage with the Anglo-Saxon monarchs, and were
thought to be more nearly related to Edward the Confessor than
Harold, whose only title was derived from his sister.

What had been the state of Europe up to that time? Since the
establishment and conversion of the northern races, a constant
change of rulers, an ever-recurring moving of territorial limit,
and consequently an endless disturbance in all that secures the
stability of rights, was common everywhere: in England, under
the heptarchy; in France, under the Carlovingians; in the
various states of Germany; everywhere, except, perhaps, in a
part of Italy, where small republics were springing up from
municipal communes, which were better adapted to the wants of
the people.

The great evils of those times were owing to these perpetual
changes, which all came from the undefined rights of succession
to power, as left by Charlemagne; a striking proof that a
monarch may be a man of genius, a great and acceptable ruler,
and still fail to see the consequences to future times of the
legacy he leaves them in the incomplete institutions of his own
time. Well has Bossuet said, that "human wisdom is always short
of something."

Those rapid, and, to us, wonderful partitions of empires and
kingdoms; those loose and ill-defined rules of succession in
Germany, France, England, and elsewhere; productive of
revolution at the death of every sovereign, and often during
every reign, showed the Popes that hereditary rights ought to be
clear and fixed, and confined to one person in each nation. From
that period, date the long lines of the Capetians in France, the
Plantagenets in England; while rights of a similar kind are
introduced into Spain and Portugal; likewise into the various
states of Northern Germany, or Scandinavia; and Southern Italy,
or Norman Sicily--the rest of Italy and Germany are placed on a
different footing, the empire and the popedom being both

Such was the grand policy of the Popes inaugurated by Hildebrand,
which came out in all its strong features, at the same time,
under his powerful influence. Such was the policy which insured
the stability of Europe for upward of six hundred years; a set
of views to which a word only can be devoted here, but on which
volumes would not be thrown away.

In consequence of it, for six hundred years dynasties seldom
changed; the territorial limits of each great division of Europe
remained, on the whole, settled; and an order of society ensued,
of such a nature that any father of a family might rest assured
of the state of his children and grandchildren after him.

In this respect, therefore, as in many others, the papacy was
the key-stone of Christendom.

But as soon as Protestantism came to contest, not only the
temporal, but even the spiritual supremacy of the Popes; when,
taking advantage of the trouble of the Church, the so-called
Catholic sovereigns, while pretending to render all honor to the
spiritual supremacy of the sovereign Pontiffs, refused to
acknowledge in them any right of lifting their warning voice,
and calling on the powers of the world to obey the great and
unchangeable laws of religion and justice, then did the long-
established stability of Europe begin to give way, while the
whole continent entered upon its long era of revolution, which
is still in full way, and, as yet, is far from having produced
its last consequences.

England, the most guilty, was the first to feel the effect of
the shock. The Tudors flattered themselves that, by throwing
aside what they called the yoke of Rome, they had vastly
increased their power, and so they did for the moment, while the
dynasty that succeeds them sees rebellion triumphant, and the
head of a king fall beneath the axe of an executioner.

She is said to have benefited, nevertheless, by her great
revolution, and by the subsequent introduction of a new dynasty.
She has certainly chanted a loud paean of triumph, and at this
moment is still exultant over the effects of her modern policy,
from the momentary success of the new ideas she has disseminated
through the world, and above all from that immense spread of
parliamentary governments which have sprung into existence
everywhere under her guidance, and mainly through her agency.

And the cause of her triumph was that, after a few years of
commotion, she seemed to have obtained a kind of stability which
was a sufficiently good copy of the old order under the Popes,
and won for her apparently the gratitude of mankind; but that
stability is altogether illogical, and cannot long stand. There
is an old, though now trite, saying to the effect that when you
"sow the wind you must reap the whirlwind," and no one can fail
to see the speedy realization of the truth of this adage on her
part. Over the full tide of her prosperity there is a mighty,
irresistible, and inevitable storm visibly gathering. At last
she has come to nearly the same state of mental anarchy which
she has been so powerful to spread in Europe. After reading
"Lothair," the work of one of her great statesmen, all
intelligent readers must exclaim, "Babylon! how hast thou fallen!
" Within a few years, possibly, nothing will remain of her
former greatness but a few shreds, and men will witness another
of those awful examples of a mighty empire falling in the midst
of the highest seeming prosperity.

When a nation has no longer any fixed principle to go by, when
the minds of her leaders are at sea on all great religious and
moral questions, when the people openly deny the right of the
few to rule, when a fabric, raised altogether on aristocracy,
finds the substratum giving way, and democratic ideas seated
even upon the summit of the edifice, there must be, as is said,
"a rattling of old bones," and a shaking of the skeleton of what
was a body.

How long, then, will the mock stability established by the deep
wisdom of England's renowned statesmen have stood? A century or
two of dazzling material prosperity succeeded by long ages of
woe, such as the writer of the "Battle of Dorking," with all his
imagination, could not find power enough to describe; for no
Prussian, or any other foreign army, will bring that catastrophe
about, but the breath of popular fury.

But our purpose is not to utter prophecies--rather to rehearse
facts already accomplished.

England, then, was the first to feel the shock of the earthquake
which was to overthrow the old stability of Europe. It is known
how Germany has ever since been a scene of continual wars,
dynastic changes, and territorial confusion. What evils have not
the wars of the present century brought upon her! Yet, owing to
the phlegmatic disposition, one might call it the stolidity of
the majority of Germans, the disturbances have been so far
external, and the lower masses of society have scarcely been
agitated, except by the first rude explosion of Protestantism,
and the sudden patriotic enthusiasm of young plebeians, in 1814.
But mark the suddenness with which, in 1848, all the thrones of
Germany fell at once under the mere breath of what is called
"the people!" It is almost a trite thing to say that, where
religion no longer exists, there no longer is security or peace.
Impartial travellers, Americans chiefly, have observed of late
that, in certain parts of France, there is, in truth, very
little religious feeling; while in all Protestant Germany,
particularly in that belonging to Prussia, there is none at all.
How long, then, is the "new Germanic Empire," so loudly trumpeted
at Versailles, and afterward so gloriously celebrated at Berlin,
without the intervention of any religion whatever, likely to stand?
How long? Can it exist till the end of this century? He would be
a bold prophet who could confidently say, "Yes."

As to France, formerly the steadiest of all nations, so deeply
attached to her dynasty of eight hundred years, although some of
her kings were little worthy true affection; many of whose
citizens have been born in houses a thousand years old, from
families whose names went back to the darkness of heroic times;
which was once so retentive of her old memories, living in her
traditions, her former deeds of glory, even in the monuments
raised in honor of her kings, her great captains, her
illustrious citizens; which was chiefly devoted to her time-
honored religion, mindful that she was born on the day of the
baptism of Clovis; that she grew up during the Crusades; that a
virgin sent by Heaven saved her from the yoke of the stranger;
that, on attaining her full maturity, it was religion which
chiefly ennobled her; and that her greatest poets, orators,
literary men, respected and honored religion as the basis of the
state, and, by their immortal masterpieces, threw a halo around
Catholicism--France, which still retains in her external
appearance something of her old steadiness and immutability, so
that to the eye of a stranger, who sees her for the first time,
solidity is the word which comes naturally to his mind, as
expressive of every thing around him, has only the look of what
she was in her days of greatness, and on the surface of the
earth there is not to-day a more unsteady, shaky, insecure spot,
scarcely worthy of being chosen by a nomad Tartar as a place
wherein to pitch his tent for the night, and hurry off at the
first appearance of the rising sun on the morrow. Can the
shifting sands of Libya, the ever-shaking volcanic mountains of
equatorial America, the rapidly-forming coral islands of the
southern seas, give an idea of that fickleness, constant
agitation, and unceasing clamor for change, which have made
France a by-word in our days? Who of her children can be sure
that the house he is building for himself will ever be the
dwelling of his son; that the city he lives in to-day will
tomorrow acknowledge him as a member of its community? Who can
be certain that the constitution of the whole state may not
change in the night, and he wake the next day to find himself an
outlaw and a fugitive?

It is a lamentable fact that for the last hundred years a great
nation has been reduced to such a state of insecurity, that no
one dares to think of the future, though all have repudiated the
past, and thus every thing is reduced for them to the present
fleeting moment.

And what is likely to be the future destiny of a nation of forty
million souls, when their present state is such, and such the
uncertainty of their dearest interests? They are unwilling to
quit the soil; for they have lost all power of expansion by
sending colonies to foreign shores; it is difficult for them to
take a real interest in their own soil, for the great moving
spring of interest is broken up by the total want of security.
May God open their eyes to their former folly; for the folly was
all of their own making! They have allowed themselves to be thus
thoroughly imbued with this revolutionary spirit--the first
revolution they hailed with enthusiasm; when they saw it become
stained with frightful horrors, they paused a moment, and were
on the point of acknowledging their error; but scribblers and
sophists came to show them that it failed in being a glorious
and happy one only because it was not complete; another and then
another, and another yet, would finish the work and make them a
great nation. Thus have they become altogether a revolutionary
people; and they must abide by the consequences, unless they
come at last to change their mind.

But the worst has not been said. This terrible example, instead
of proving a warning to nations, has, on the contrary, drawn
nearly all of them into the same boiling vortex. England and
France have led the whole European world captive: people ask for
a government different to the one they have; revolution is the
consequence, and, with the entry of the revolutionary spirit,
good-by to all stability and security. Let Italy and Spain bear
witness if this is not so.

And the great phenomenon of the age is the collecting of all
those revolutionary particles into one compact mass, arranged
and preordained by some master-spirits of evil, who would be
leaders not of a state or nation only, but of a universal
republic embracing first Europe, and then the world. So we hear
to-day of the Internationalists receiving in their "congresses"
deputies not only from all the great European centres, not only
from both ends of America, which is now Europeanized, but from
South Africa, from Australia, New Zealand, from countries which
a few years back were still in quiet possession of a
comparatively few aborigines.

To come back, then, to the point from which we started, it is in
this revolutionary spirit, in those conspiracies for revolutions
to come, that some Irishmen set their hopes for the regeneration
of their country. It would be well to remind them of the sayings
of our Lord: "Can men gather grapes from thorns?" "By their
fruits ye shall know them."

Let the Irish who are truly devoted to their country reflect
well on the kind of men they would have as allies. What has
Ireland in common with these men? If they know Ireland at all,
they detest her because of her Catholicism; and, if Ireland
knows them, she cannot but distrust and abominate them.

It has seemed a decree of kind Providence that all attempts at
rebellion on her part undertaken with the hope of such help,
have so far not only been miserable failures, but most
disgracefully miscarried and been spent in air, leaving only
ridicule and contempt for the originators of and partakers in
the plots.

If the vast and unholy scheme which is certainly being organized,
and which is spreading its fatal branches in all directions,
should ever succeed, it could not but result in the most
frightful despotism ever contemplated by men. Ireland in such an
event would be the infinitesimal part of a chaotic system worthy
of Antichrist for head.

But we are confident that such a scheme cannot succeed and come
to be realized, unless indeed it enter for a short period into
the designs of an avenging God, who has promised not to destroy
mankind again by another flood, but assured us by St. Peter that
he will purify it by fire.

As a mere design of man, intended for the regeneration of
humanity and the new creation of an abnormal order of things, it
cannot possibly succeed, because it is opposed to the nature of
men, among whom as a whole there can be no perfect unity of
external government and internal organization, owing to the
infinite variety of which we spoke at the beginning, which is as
strong in human beings as elsewhere. No other body than the
Catholic Church can hope to adapt itself to all human races, and
govern by the same rules all the children of Adam. The decree
issued of old from the mouth of God is final, and will last as
long as the earth itself. It is contained in Moses' Canticle:

"When the Most High divided the nations, when he separated the
sons of Adam, he appointed the bounds of each people, according
to the number of the children of Israel," or, as the Hebrew text
has it, "He fixed the limits of each people." On this passage
Aben Ezra remarks that interpreters understand the text as
alluding to the dispersion of nations (Genesis xi.). Those
interpreters, were clearly right, although only Jewish rabbies.

When God deprived man of the unity of language, he took away at
the same time the possibility of unity of institutions and
government; and it will be as hard for men to defeat that design
of Providence as for Julian the apostate to rebuild the Temple
of Jerusalem, of which our Saviour had declared that there
should not remain "a stone upon a stone."

But, though the monstrous scheme cannot ultimately succeed, it
can and will produce untold evils to human society. By alluring
workmen and other people of the lower class, it draws into the
intricate folds of conspiracy, dark projects, and universal
disorder, an immense array of human beings, whom the
revolutionary spirit had not yet, or at least had scarcely,
touched; it undermines and disturbs society in its lowest depths
and widest-spread foundations, since the lower class always has
been and still is the most numerous, including by far the great
majority of men. It consequently renders the stability of order
more difficult, if not absolutely impossible; it opens up a new
era of revolutions, more disastrous than any yet known; for, as
has already been remarked, and it should be well borne in mind,
in order that the whole extent of the evil in prospect may be
seen, so far, all the agitations in Europe, all the convulsions
which have rendered our age so unlike any previous one, and
productive of so many calamities, private as well as public,
have been almost exclusively confined to the middle classes, and
should be considered only as a reaction of the simple
bourgeoisie against the aristocratic class. Those agitations and
convulsions are only the necessary consequence of the secular
opposition, existing from the ninth and tenth centuries and
those immediately following, between the strictly feudal
nobility, which arrogated to itself all prerogatives and rights,
and the more numerous class of burghers, set on the lower step
of the social ladder. These latter wanted, not so much to get up
to the level of their superiors, as to bring them down to their
own, and even precipitate them into the abyss of nothingness
below. They have almost succeeded; and the prestige of noble
blood has passed away, perhaps forever, in spite of Vico's well-
known theory. But the now triumphant burgher in his turn sees
the dim mass, lost in the darkness and indistinctness of the
lowest pool of humanity, rising up grim and horrible out of the
abyss, hungry and fierce and not to be pacified, to threaten the
new-modelled aristocracy of money with a worse fate than that it
inflicted upon the old nobility.

And, to render the prospect more appalling, the chief means,
which so eminently aided the bourgeoisie to take their position,
namely, the wide-spread influence of secret societies, whose
workings even lately have astonished the world by the facile and
apparently inexplicable revolutions effected in a few days, are
now in the full possession of the lower classes, who, no longer
rude and unintelligent, but possessed of leaders of experience
and knowledge, can also powerfully work those mighty engines of

In the presence of those past, present, and coming revolutions,
the face of heaven entirely clouded, the presence of God
absolutely ignored, his rights over mankind denied, the designs
of his Providence openly derided, and man, pretending to decide
his own destiny by his own unaided efforts, scornfully rejecting
any obligation to a superior power, not looking on high for
assistance, but taking only for his guide his pretended wisdom,
his unbounded pride, and his raging passions; such is now our

Is Ireland to launch herself on that surging sea of wild impulse,
in whose depths lies destruction and whose waves never kiss a
peaceful coast? When she claimed and exercised a policy of her
own, she wisely persisted in not mixing herself up with the
troubles of Europe, content to enjoy happiness in her own way,
on her ocean-bound island, she thanked God that no portion of
her little territory touched any part of the Continent of Europe,
stretching out vainly toward her shores. So she stood when,
under God, she was mistress of her own destiny. If ever she
thought of Europe, it was only to send her missionaries to its
help, or to receive foreign youth in her large schools which
were open to all, where wisdom was imparted without restriction
and without price. But to follow the lead of European theorists
and vendors of so-called wisdom and science; to originate new
schemes of pretended knowledge, or place herself in the wake of
bold adventurers on the sea of modern inventions, she was ever
steadfast in her refusal.

And now that her autonomy is almost once again within her grasp,
now that she can carve out a destiny of her own, would she hand
over the guidance of herself to men who know nothing of her, who
have only heard of her through the reports of her enemies, and
who will scarcely look at her if she is foolish enough to ask to
be admitted within their ranks?

Every one who wishes well to Ireland ought to thank God that so
far few indeed, if any, of her children have ever joined in the
plots and conspiracies of modern times, and that in this last
scheme just referred to, not one of them, probably, has fully
engaged himself. In the late horrors of the Paris Commune, no
Irish name could be shown to have been implicated, and, when the
contrary was asserted, a simple denial was sufficient to set the
question at rest. Let them so continue to refrain from sullying
their national honor by following the lead of men with whom they
have nothing in common.

After all, the great thing which the Irish desire is, with the
entire possession of their rights, to enjoy that peace and
security in their own island, which they relish so keenly when
they find it on foreign shores. But no peace or security is
possible with the attempt to subvert all human society by wild
and impracticable theories, in which human and divine laws are
alike set at naught. Further words are unnecessary on this
subject, as the simple good sense and deep religious feeling of
the Irish will easily preserve them from yielding to such

Yet, a last consideration seems worthy of note. When, later on,
we present our views, and explain by what means we consider that
the happiness of the Irish nation may be secured, and its
mission fulfilled, a more fitting opportunity will be presented
of speaking of the ways by which Providence has already led them
through former difficulties, and the consideration of those holy
designs and past favors may enable us better to understand what
may be hoped and attempted in the future.

Here it is enough to observe that, in whatever progress the
Irish have made of late in obtaining a certain amount of their
rights, insurrection, revolution, plots, and the working of
secret societies condemned by the Church, have absolutely gone
for nothing, and the little of it all, in which Irishmen have
indulged, really formed one of the main obstacles to the
enjoyment of what they had already obtained, and to the securing
of a greater amount for the future.

There is no doubt that revolutions abroad and dangers at home
have been the greatest inducements to England to relax her grasp
and change her tyrannical policy toward Ireland. The success of
the revolt of the North American colonies was the main cause of
the volunteer movement of 1782, and of the concessions then
temporarily granted. The fearful upheaval of revolutionary
France, which filled the English heart with a wholesome dread,
was also a great means of obtaining for Ireland the concession
of being no longer treated as though it were a lair of wild
beasts or a nest of outlaws. The act of Catholic Emancipation in
1829 was certainly granted in view of immediate revolutions
ready to burst forth, one of which did explode in France in the
year following. But, in all those outbursts of popular fury,
Ireland never joined; and if she found in them new ground for
hope, if she awaited anxiously the anticipated result turning in
her favor, she never took any active part whatever in them. She
only relied on God, who always knows how to draw good from evil;
she, however, profited by them, and saw her shackles fall off of
themselves, and herself brought back, step by step, to liberty.

But so soon as any body of Irishmen entered into a scheme of a
similar nature, imitating the secret plottings and deeds of
European revolutionists, Ireland never gained a single inch of
ground, nor reaped the slightest advantage from such attempts.
On the contrary, ridicule, contempt, increase of burdens,
penalties, and harsh treatment, were the only result which ever
came from them, and, worst of all, no one pitied the victims of
all those foolish enterprises. There is no need of entering here
into details. The first of those attempts failed long ago; the
last is still on record, and cannot be yet said to belong to
past history.



To the eye of a keen beholder, Ireland to-day presents the
appearance of a nation entering upon a new career. She is
emerging from a long darkness, and opening again to the free
light of heaven. Whoever compares her present position with that
she occupied a century ago, cannot fail to be struck with wonder
no less at the change in her than at the agencies which brought
that change about. And when to this is added the further
reflection that she is still young, though sprung from so old-an-
origin-young in feeling, in buoyancy, in aspirations, in purity
and simplicity-the conclusion forces itself upon the mind that a
high destiny is in store for her, and that God proposes a long
era of prosperity and active life to an ancient nation which is
only now beginning to live.

In such cases, whether it be a people or an individual, which is
entering upon its life, crowds of advisers are ever to be found
ready to display their wisdom and lay down the plans whose
adoption will infallibly bring prosperity and happiness to the
individual or people in question.

Ireland, to-day, suffers from no lack of wise counsellors and
ardent well-wishers. Unfortunately, their various projects do
not always harmonize; indeed, they are sometimes contradictory,
and, as their number is by no means small, the only difficulty
is where to choose which road the nation should take in order to
march in the right direction.

In entering upon this portion of our work, where we have to deal
with actual questions of the day, and if not to draw the
horoscope of the future, at least to give utterance to our ideas
for the promotion of the welfare of the nation, we shall appear
to come under the same catalogue of advisers, fully persuaded,
with the rest, that our advice is the right, our voice the only
one worthy of attention.

Our purpose is far humbler; our reflections take another shape;
we merely say

During the last hundred years, Ireland has changed wonderfully
for the better; and although the old wounds are not yet quite
healed up, though they still smart, though she is still poor and
disconsolate, and her trials and afflictions far from being
ended; nevertheless, though sorely tried, Providence has been
kind to her. Many of her rights have been restored, and she is
no longer the slave of hard task-masters. When she now speaks,
her voice is no longer met by the gibe and sneer, but with a
kind of awe akin to respect, her enemies seeming to feel
instinctively that it is the voice of a nation which no longer
may be safely despised.

This fact being indisputable, the conviction forces itself upon
us that her improved condition is mainly, perhaps solely, due to
Providence; and that the career upon which she has entered, and
which she is now pursuing with a clear determination of her own,
has been marked out, designed, and already partially run, under
the guidance of that God for whom alone she has suffered, and
who never fails in his own good time to dry up the tears shed
for his sake, and crown his martyrs with victory.

Our task is merely to examine the progress made, the manner of
its making, the direction toward which it tends, with the aim,
if possible, of adding to its speed. We have no new plan to
offer, no gratuitous advice to give. The plan is already
sketched out--God has sketched it; and our only aim is to see
how man may cooperate with designs far higher than any proposed
by human wisdom.

The first thing that strikes us, standing on the verge of this
new region, opening out dimly but gloriously before our eyes, is
one great fact which is plain to all; which is greater than all
England's concessions to Ireland, more fruitful of happy
consequences, not alone to the latter country itself, but to the
world at large; a fact which is the strongest proof of the
vitality of the Irish race, which now begins to win for it
respect by bringing forth its real strength, a strength to
astonish the world; which began feebly when the evils of the
country were at their height, but has gone on constantly
increasing until it has now grown to extraordinary proportions;
and which instead of, as their enemies fondly supposed, wresting
Ireland from the Irish, has made their claim to the native soil
securer than ever, by spreading strong supporters of their
rights through the world. This great fact is emigration.

At this moment, Irishmen are scattered abroad over the earth. In
many regions they have numbers, and form compact bodies.
Wherever this occurs, they acquire a real power in the land
which they have made their new home. That power is certainly
intended by Almighty God to be used wisely, prudently, but
actively and energetically; not only for the good of those who
have been thus transplanted in a new soil, but also for the good
of the mother-country which they cannot, if they would, forget.
How can they utilize for such a purpose the power so recently
acquired, the wealth, the influence, the consideration they
enjoy, in their new country? How may such a course benefit the
land of their nativity as of their origin? These are important
questions; they are not airy theories, but rise up clearly from
a standing and stupendous fact. The turning their power of
expansion to its right use, the reproduction with Christian aim
of that old power of expansion peculiar to the Celtic race three
thousand years ago, is what we call the first true issue of the
Irish question:- Emigration and its Possible Effects.

In order to judge with proper understanding of the prospective
effects of Irish emigration, it is fitting to study the fact in
all its bearings; to examine the origin and various phases of
the mighty movement, the religious direction it has invariably
taken, the immediate good it has produced, and the special
consideration of the vast proportions which it has finally
assumed. The task may be a long one; but it is certainly
important and interesting; and it is only after the details of
it have been thoroughly sifted that one may be in a position to
judge rightly of the aid it has already furnished, and which it
is destine to furnish in a still greater degree, to the uprising
of the nation.

The movement originated with the Reformation. It began with the
flight of a few of the nobility in the reign of Henry VIII.;
their number was increased under Elizabeth, and grew to larger
proportions still under James I.; but a far greater number,
sufficient to make a very sensible diminution in the population
of the country, was doomed to exile by Cromwell and the Long
Parliament. It then became a compulsory banishment.

The next following movement on a large scale occurred after the
surrender of Kilkenny, when the Irish commanders, Colonel
Fitzpatrick, Clanricard, and others, could obtain no better
terms than emigration to any foreign country then at peace with
England. The Irish troops were eagerly caught up by the various
European monarchs, so highly were their services esteemed. The
number that thus left their native land, many of them never to
return, amounted, according to well-informed writers, to forty
thousand men, of noble blood most of them, many of the first
nobility of the land, and almost all children of the old race.
The details of this first exodus are to be found in the pages of
many modern authors, particularly in Mr. Prendergast's
"Cromwellian Settlement."

The example thus given was followed on many occasions. The
Treaty of Limerick, October 3, 1691, gave the garrison under
Saarsfield liberty to join the army of King William or enter the
service of France. Mr. A.M. O'Sullivan has given a spirited
sketch of the making of their choice by the heroic garrison as
it defiled out of the city:

"On the morning of the 5th of October the Irish regiments were
to make their choice between exile for life or service in the
armies of their conqueror. At each end of a gently-rising ground
beyond the suburbs were planted on one side the royal standard
of France, and on the other that of England. It was agreed that
the regiments, as they marched out with all the honors of war,
drums beating, colors flying, and matches lighted, should, on
reaching the spot, wheel to the left or to the right, beneath
that flag under which they elected to serve. At the head of the
Irish marched the Foot Guards, the finest regiment in the
service, fourteen hundred strong. All eyes were fixed on this
splendid body of men. On they came, amid breathless silence and
acute suspense; for well both the English and Irish generals
knew that the choice of the first regiment would powerfully
influence all the rest. The Guards marched up to the critical
spot, and in a body wheeled to the colors of France, barely
seven men turning to the English side! Ginckle, we are told, was
greatly agitated as he witnessed the proceeding. The next
regiment, however (Lord Iveagh's), marched as unanimously to the
Williamite banner, as did also portions of two others. But the
bulk of the Irish army defiled under fleur-de-lys of King Louis,
only one thousand and forty-six, out of nearly fourteen thousand
men, preferring the service of England."

From that time out a large number of the Irish nobility and
gentry continued to enlist under French, Spanish, or Austrian
colors; and the several Irish brigades became celebrated all
over Europe until the end of the eighteenth century. It is said
by l'abbe McGeohegan that six hundred thousand Irishmen perished
in the armies of France alone. The abbe is generally very
accurate, and from his long residence in France had every means
at his disposal of arriving at the truth. Some pretend that
double the number enlisted in foreign service. There is no doubt
that in all a million men left the island to take service under
the banners of Catholic sovereigns, and it is needless to dwell
on the bravery and devotion of those men whom the persecution of
an unwise and cruel Protestant government drove out of Ireland
during the eighteenth century-it is needless to dwell upon it,
for the record is known to the world.

Without following the fortunes of the Irish brigades, the
history of one of which, that in the service of France, has been
given us in the very interesting and valuable narrative of John
R. O'Callaghan-its various fortunes and final dissolution at the
breaking out of the French republic, when the English Government
was glad to receive back the scattered remnants of it-the
question which bears most on our present subject is: What was
the occupation of those Irishmen on the Continent when not
actually engaged in war? What service did their voluntary or
compulsory exile do their native country? Was that long
emigration of a century productive of something out of which
Providence may have drawn good?

The first departure of a few under Hugh O'Neill and Hugh
O'Donnell had already spread the name of Ireland through Spain,
Italy, and Belgium. The reports of the numerous English spies,
employed to dog their steps and watch their movements, reports
some of which have been finally brought to light, conclusively
prove that most of the exiles held honorable positions in Spain
and Portugal, at Valladolid and Lisbon, where the O'Sullivans
and O'Driscolls lived; at the very court of Spain, or in the
Spanish navy, like the Bourkes and the Cavanaghs.

In Flanders, under the Austrian archdukes, were stationed the
McShanes, on the Groyne; the Daniells at Antwerp; the posterity
of the earls themselves with that of their former retinue. All
held rank in the Austrian army, and even in times of peace were
occupied in thinking of possible entanglements whereby they
might serve their country, while they made the Irish name
honored and respected all over that rich land. In Italy, at
Naples, Leghorn, Florence, and Rome, in the great centres of the
peninsula, the same thing was taking place, and there, at least,
the calumnies, everywhere so industriously circulated about
Ireland, could not penetrate, or, if they did, only to be
received with scorn.

But, when the next emigration, at the end of the Cromwellian and
Williamite wars, landed forty thousand soldiers, and twelve
thousand more a few years afterward, on the European Continent,
these armed men proved to the nations, by their bravery, their
deep attachment to their religion, their perfect honor and
generosity, that the people from which a persecuting power had
driven them forth could not be composed of the outlaws and blood-
thirsty cutthroats which the reports of their enemies would make
them. How striking and permanent must have been the effect
produced on impartial minds by the contrast between the aspect
of the reality and the base fabrications of skilfully-scattered

And be it borne in mind that those men founded families in the
countries where they settled; as well as those who continued to
flock thither during the whole of the eighteenth century. They
carried about with them, in their very persons even, the history
of Ireland's wrongs; and the mere sight of them was enough to
interest all with whom they came in contact in favor of their
country. Hence the esteem and sympathy which Ireland and her
people have always met with in France, where the calumnies and
ridicule lavished on them could never find an entrance.

It would be a great error to imagine that they were to be found
only in the camp or in the garrisons of cities. They made
themselves a home in their new country, and their children
entered upon all the walks of life opened up to the citizens of
the country in which they resided. Thus, at least, the name of
Ireland did not die out altogether during that age of gloom,
when their native isle was only the prison of the race, where it
was chained down in abject misery, out of the sight of the world,
the life of it stifled out in the deep dungeon of oblivion.

In all honorable professions they became distinguished-in the
Church and in trade, as in the army. Thus, speaking only of
France, an Irishman-Edgeworth-was chosen by Louis XVI. to
prepare him for death and stand by him during his last ordeal of
ignominy; another-Lally Tollendal-would have wrested India from
England, if his ardent temperament had not brought him enemies
where he ought to have met with friends; another yet-Walsh-
during the American War, employed the wealth acquired by trade,
in sending cruisers against the English to American waters.

It would take long pages to record what those noble exiles
accomplished for the good of their country and religion, quite
apart from the heroism they displayed on battle-fields, and
their fidelity to principle during times of peace. Their very
presence in foreign countries was, perhaps, the best protest
against the enslavement of their own. They showed by their
bearing that they owed no allegiance to England, and that brute
force could never establish right. By identifying themselves
with the nations which offered them hospitality and a new right
of citizenship, they proved to the world that their native isle
could be governed by native citizens. Their honorable conduct
and successful activity in every pursuit of life showed that, as
they were capable of governing themselves, so likewise could
they claim self-government for their country.

The moral condition of France during the eighteenth century, and
the depths of corruption into which the higher class sank in so
short a time, are known to all. To the honor of the Irish
nobility and gentry then in France, not a single Irish name is
to be met with in that long list of noble names which have
disgraced that page of French history. Not in the luxurious
bowers and palaces of Louis XV. were they to be found, but on
the battle-fields of Dettingen and Fontenoy. It was a Scotchman-
Law-who infected the higher circles of the natives with the rage
for speculation, and the folly of gambling in paper. It was an
Italian- Cagliostro-who traded on the superstitious credulity of
men who had lost their faith. It was an Englishman-Lord
Derwentwater-and another Scotchman-Ramsay-who, by the
introduction of the first Masonic Lodge into France, opened the
floodgates of future revolutions.

Among those of foreign birth, no Irishman was found in France to
contribute to the corruption of the nation, and give his aid to
set agoing that long era of woe not yet ended.

And needless is it to add that never is one of them mentioned,
among those who were so active in propagating that broad
infidelity peculiar to that age. If a few of them shared to some
extent in the general delusion, and took part with the vast
multitude in the insane derision, then so fashionable, of every
thing holy, their number was small indeed, and none of them
acquired in that peculiar line, the celebrity which crowned so
many others. -the Grimms, the Gallianis, and later on the Paines,
the Cloots, and other foreigners.

As a body, the Irish remained faithful to the Church of their
fathers, honoring her by their conduct, and their respectful
demeanor toward holy names and holy things. Eventually they, in
common with all Frenchmen, had to share in the misfortunes,
brought on by the subversion of all the former guiding
principles; but, though sharing in the punishment, they took no
part in the great causes which called it down.

These few words will suffice for the emigration of the Irish
nobility, and its effects on foreign countries; as well as
Ireland itself.

But another class of noblemen had emigrated to the Continent
side by side with those of whom we have just spoken; namely,
bishops, priests, monks, and learned men. England would not
suffer the Catholic clergy in Ireland; she was particularly
careful not to allow Irish youth the benefit of any but a
Protestant education. Irish clergymen were compelled to fly and
open houses of study abroad. Their various colleges in Spain,
France, Belgium, and Italy, are well known; they have already
been referred to, and it is not necessary to enlarge on the
subject. But, though mention has been made of the renown thus


Back to Full Books