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i; Mac Neven. It had an intention of rising in arms after Geaeral Lake's proclamation.
Lord Kiliuarden. What prevented it I
Mac Neven. The people of the north were made acquainted with assurances received about this time from France, that the expected succours would be shortly sent to us; and it was represented to them that we would be giving the English a great advantage by beginning before they arrived. For this, as well as other reasons, I was always averse to our beginning by ourselves.
Lord Kiliuarden. Then if you thought you would have succeeded, you would have begun?
Mac Neven. Most probably we should; at the same time I am bound to declare, that it was our wish to act with French aid, because that would tend to make the revolution less bloody, by determining many to join in it early, who, while the balance of success was doubtful, would either retain an injurious neutrality, or even perhaps oppose it. •
Lord Kiliuarden. The Union held out to the poor an assur. ance that their condition would be ameliorated: how was this to be accomplished?
Mac Neven. In the first place, by an abolition of tythes |
and in the next, by establishing such an order of things as would
give more free scope to their industry, and secure to them a
better recompence for it.
Archbishop of Cashel. You know very well if tythes were abolished, the landlords would raise the rents, and the tenants would not be benefited.,
E e Mac Neven.
Mac Nevin. I know, my Lord, that during the period of the lease, at least, there would be no such rise; but that now, year after year, there is not a single improvement made by the tenant, without the parson's getting a proportion of the profits; it is a tax which encreases in proportion to the tenant's industry, and encroaches on his capital, in order to form an income for a man to whom he is not indebted for any service; and in general there is the loss of the full tenth between the incumbent and his proctor.
Archbishop of Cashel. Can you account for the massacres committed upon the protestants by the papists in the county of Wexford?
Mac Neven. My Lord, I am far from being the apologist of massacres, however provoked; but if I am rightly informed as to the conduct of the magistrates of that county, the massacres you allude to were acts of retaliation upon enemies, much more than of fanaticism; moreover my Lord, it ha» been the misfortune of this country, scarcely ever to have known the English natives or settlers, oth^wise than as enemies; and in his language, the Irish peasant has but one name for protestant and Englishman, and confounds them j he calls both by the name of Sasanagh; his indignation, therefore, is Jess against a religionist than agaiiut a foe; his prejudiceis the effect of the ignorance he is kept in, and the treatment he receives. How can we be surprized at'it, when so much pains are taken to brutalize him?
Lord Chancellor. I agree with Dr. Mac Neven; the Irish peasant considers the two words as synonimous; he calls the protestant and Englishman, indifferently, Sasanagh.
Lord Kilzuarden. I suppose the religious establishment would fee abolished with the tythes
Mac Neven, Mac Neven. I suppose it would.
Lord Kiliuarden. Would you not set up another? \
Mac Neven. No, indeed, /
Lord Kiliuarden, Not the Roman Catholic f
Mac Neven. I would no more consent to that than I would to the establishment of Mahometanism,
Lord Kilwarden. What would you do then?
Mac Neven. That which they do in America? let each man profess the religion of his conscience, and pay his own pastor.
Lord Chancellor. JDo you think the mass of the people in the provinces of Leinster, Muneter and Connaught, care the value of this pen, or the drop of ink it contains} for parliamentaryreform or catholic emancipation i
Mac Neven. I am sure they do not [if by the mass of the people your lordship means the common illiterate people; they do not understand it.] What they very well understand is, that it would be a very great advantage to them to be relieved from the payment of tythes, £and not to be fleeced by their landlords; but there is not a man who can read a newspaper, who has not considered the question of reform, and was not once at least "attached to that measure j the people' of the least education understand it; and why the common people, whose opinion on every other occasion is so little valued, should be made the criterion of public opinion on this, I do not know.]*
* All that part of the answer inclosed within brackets, has been purposely omitted in the published report of ihe secret coiomiliee of ihe house of lords. Here, where Ihe entire answer isset down, the effect of the suppression in altering the sense is manifest. But long before, Sydney was
Lord Chancellor. I dare say they all understand it better than I do?
Mac Ncven. As to catholic emancipation, the importance of that question has passed away long since; it really is not worth a moment's thought at the present period.
Lord Dillon. Has the Union extended much into Coanaught?
Mac Neven. - It has, very considerably.
Lord Dillon. I did not think so. What is the extent of the
Mac Neven. Less, perhaps, than in other places; it got later into Connaught, but very great numbers have taken the test. From the misery of the poor people, and the oppressiveness of landlords in many parts of that province, we have no doubt but if the French ever land in force there, they will be joined by thousands, probably by the whole of its population.
Archbishop of CasheL If the French had made peace at Lisle, as you say they were willing to do, they would have left you in the lurch; and may they not do so again i i
Mac Neven. The French government declared that it would pot deceive the Irish; and that it must make peace if England offered such terms as France had a right to expect; but that if the insincerity of the cabinet of St. James's should frustrate the negotiation, the Irish should never be abandoned; and I now
forced to observe to another corrupt judge, that if lie took the Scripture by pieces, he would nrnke all the penmen of the Srrip ure bbisphemers. He miffhi accuse David of sa> ing there was no God; and accuse the Evangelists of saying Christ was a blasphemer aud a seducer; and the Apostles that they were drunk.
consider the directory as bound by every tie of honour never to niuke peace until we are an independent nation.
j'rchlishop of Cashel. What security have you that the French would not keep this country as a conquest?
Mac Ncven. Their interest and our power: if they attempted any such thing, they must know that England would not fail to take advantage of it; that she would then begin to get a sense of justice towards Ireland, and make us any offer short of separation, as she did to America, when by a like assistance America was enabled to shake off her yoke j moreover, it is not possible for the French to send any force into this country, which would not be at the mercy of its inhabitants; but the example which was held out to them, and to which they promised to conform, was that of Rochambcau in America,
A memler of the Committee. To what number do you think the United Irishmen amounted all over the kingdom?
Mac Neven. Those who have taken the test, do not, \ am convinced, fall short of 500,000, without reckoning women and old men. The number regularly organized, is not less than 300,000; and I have no doubt a.11 these will be ready to fight for the liberties of Ireland, when they get a fair opportunity.
Lord Chancellor. We shall not trouble you with any more