Sayfadaki görseller

around the ground might be built a wall, and with the constant watching of a sufficient number of persons, the remains of mortality would be secure from being disturbed for the purposes for which they are at present used ; and as the law gives the power, they could find no difficulty in getting sixty or seventy persons to Eubscribe £50 each, at the highest interest, for the purpose of enclosing the ground, building the chapel, &c., and that sum it will not be necessary to pay but by instalments, and as they may be wanting, and the revenue of the ground could be handed over as a security. Even as a trading speculation, he conceived there would be no difficulty in obtaining a sufficient number of persons to undertake the speculation, when, if it be true that a single church-yard in Dublin produces £2,000 a-year, and paid by nine-tenths of the inhabitants of Dublin, the establishment, he conceived, would have the effect of diminishing that revenue, which was not at present employed as it might be, and a certainty of directing it to meritorious purposes.

The origin of churchyard fees (said the learned gentleman) was not a little curious, when it was sought to exclude the Catholics from those privileges established by their ancestors. In Catholic times the canon law guarded against the payment of churchyard fees, and they were considered an imposition ; but monasteries having churchyards attached to them, persons when dying directed they should be buried in them, and left money in order to have themselves prayed for; but at the Reformation. the monasteries were abolished, and the fees were continued.



"MR. O'CONNELL gave notice of a motion for.preparing a petition to Parlianent, praying the enactment of a law to compel the clergy to take their tithe in kind, particularly as related to potatoes, in which the miserable peasantry were considerably harassed and defrauded, the custom having been to leave every tenth ridge, or every tenth spade's length, for the tithe ; but by a recent decree of the court at CASHEL, the peasant was obliged, in addition to giving so large a portion of his property, to have the labour of digging them also; and such a grierance was this felt that Mr. Crotty, whom every body knew, and who Mr. Blacker $1 bedaubed with praises for what nobody could sell, was offered ten shillings with each lot, besides the tithe, and to take it in kind, which he refused.

We should have inserted before, had we observed strict order of dates, an opinion of Mi O'Connell's respecting the vexed question of Catholic funeral ceremonies in Protestant phurchyards, which appeared in the Dublin papers about the end of September. But the

inion has strict relevance to the speechi which follows it herc:-

[ocr errors]


An opinion has been obtained from Mr. O'Connell on this question, which, as it is one of very deep interest, we lose no time in laying before the public:

There is no statute law preventing a Catholic priest from praying for a deceased Catholic in a churchyard. The mistake on this subject originated in a misapprehension (frequently a wilful one) of the statute of the 21st and 22nd of the late king, cap. 24, sec. 8. But that section contains no prohibition.

It is not, in itself, any enactment of a positive or affirmative nature. It operates merely by way of exception, and it simply deprives such Catholic priest as may officiate at a funeral in church or churchyardof the benefits conferred by that act.

Now, no Catholic priest does at present want the benefit of that act at all. It is, in truth, now a dead letter, remaining, with much similar lumber, on the statute book-creating no rights, constituting no privations, unless in its enactments, nugatory in its exceptions.

The next question asked me is, whether the praying for the dead by a Catholic priest at a funeral or in a churchyard, is prohibited by the common law?

My answer is, that it is not. The Catholic religion had preexistence in the common law; it was adopted into the common law, as part and parcel of that law. So the law continued until what is called the Reformation, in the reign of Henry VIII.

The Catholic religion being thus part and parcel of the common law, it follows, necessarily, that praying for the dead could not be prohibited either at funerals, in churchyards, or elsewhere. On the contrary, it was at common law part of the duty of the priest, and he was bound to pray for the dead at funerals and in churchyards. And it was reciprocally one of the rights of the king's subjects at common law to have prayers said for the dead, by Catholic priests, at funerals and in churchyards.

Thus, such prayers not being prohibited, but, on the contrary. being enjoined at common law, and there being no statute to forbid such praying, it follows, as a matter of course, that no Catholic priest can be legally prevented from praying for a deceased Catholic at a funeral in a churchyard.

The next question turns upon the mode of redress, should a Catholic priest be prevented from thus officiating. As to that-

I am of opinion (but with some doubt) that an action would lie at the suit of the executors of the deceased against any per. son who prevented a Catholic priest from praying in the churchyard, over the body of their testator.

But as I am unwilling to advise litigation where it may be avoided, I think the best remedy would be found in the peaceful, but determined assertion of the right. Let the friends of the deceased peaceably surround the priest and the body during the service. Let any violence which may arise come from the preventing parties, and then the individuals to whom that violence may be used will have a distinct right of action, or may proceed by indictment against the persons who use force.

In many counties there may be the natural and usual apprehension that the magistrates, tinged (to speak moderately) with Orange, may not do strict justice to the Catholics on any occasion of this sort. In


the indictment, as soon as found, should be removed by certiorari into the King's Bench, Dublin, where every body is sure of meeting impartial justice.

If grand juries, acting on a similar bad feeling, throw out the bills of indictment, the Court of King's Bench, upon the making out, by affidavit, a proper case for that purpose, will grant a criminal information.

Thus it will be found that there are abundant means for the Catholics to maintain this their undoubted right. I am de. cidedly of opinion that it ought to be asserted. The Catholics may as well at once abandon the tombs of their fathers and relatives, as submit to the petty and tyrannical bigotry which now seeks unjustly and illegally to deprive them, at moments of the greatest and most bitter sorrow, of the awful but melancholy consolations of their holy religion.

I therefore repeat my decided opinion, that the Catholics have a right to these prayers, and that such right should be exerted with determination, but peaceably and without any illegal violence whatever.


On Saturday, the 15th of November, the meeting of the Association was (by the reports by the newspapers) morc nu:nerously attended, and comprised more of the rank and wealth of the Catholic body, than upon any previous occasion.

[ocr errors][merged small]

EDMOND POWEF, of Gurteen, County Tipperary, Esq., in the Chair.


MR. O'CONNELL, in presenting the report from the committeo appointed to carry into effect the resolutions respecting the burial ground, hoped that from the terms of the resolution, it would not be understood that the graveyard was intended to be one for the exclusive use of Catholics ; for nothing could be further from their thoughts than a desire to follow the example of those who pursue their rancorous hostility towards Catholics even to the grave.

In wishing to preserve the ashes of their relatives and friends from unfeeling indignity and insult, it was not their wish to do su by separating from their Protestant brethren, either in this or the next world.

It was their duty as well as interest to promote union, and dissipate irritation amongst Irishm

It was . upon that principle the Catholic Association was founded. It was their object to subvert that principle of perfidious persecution so much at large through all the constituted authorities, from the highest officer to the commonest constable, merely because the Catholics adhere to a religion which they believe to be true.

It was the interest and wish of the Catholic Association to abolish, as much as with them lay, all causes of domestic irritation, at a time when England was about to be arrayed against a world of perfect despotism, in which kings were every thing, and the people nothing. It was equally the inclination as the duty of the Catholics of Ireland to support that country which in Europe stands alone a bright exception to the rule of legitimate despotism, spite of Toryism and oligarchy, the progenitors of continental tyranny, and of that Machiavelian policy which, in France, prevented them from at once annihilating the remnant of liberty, in order the more effectually to extinguish it by frequent encroachments on the charter said to have been given by the king, as if it were not the people who create the king.

The day of retribution had at length arrived to the English Tories. They must now fight for their places and pensions. They must fight for the cotton trade of England, or give up South America to the holy leaguers. To preserve their places, they must preserve English independence; and to effect either,

[ocr errors]


English liberty must vanquish that monster of iniquity, legitiKuide despotism.

To preserve their places, the Tory ministry must abandon the characteristic principle of their imbecile policy-injustice to Ireland. England cannot suffer her right arm (Ireland) to remain paralyzed by sectarian persecutions and political degradation. Ireland must not longer continue the point of England's weakness, instead of being a portion of her strength. Instea: of turning her bayonets upon-he would not call them a discontented peasantry--but a disgusted and terrified population, England must hold out the hand of fellowship, and purchase, with equal laws and equal rights, that co-operation and that friendship, without which she cannot support her independence against holy leagues, divine rights, and monarchial despotism.

The interests and objects of the Catholic Association (however they might be calumniated) were to effect that desirable change, by obtaining the abolition of Catholic grievances, which, if they ould not remove in a mass, they might by fragments. He, therefore, would take them in detail, and commence with that one upon which a committee had prepared a report, which he should then have the honour of presenting.

It was a subject upon which a Catholic of sensibility could hardly trust himself to speak in public; for a man might suffer en injury to himself, but he (Mr. O'Connell) pitied the wretch who could tamely, witness the bones of his friend trampled under the hoofs of Orangeism; and he confessed he had no great reverence for the founder of such anti-Christian persecution, however Doctor Magee might value the distinction.

That learned prelate, when Dean of Cork, was the first who carried the persecution of Catholics to the extremity of insulting them when about to join their kindred earth ; but the priest, through whom the insult was to be conveyed, conscious that neither the legislature nor the Protestants would countenance the gratuitous and unfeeling indignity (hear, hear, from Colonel Butler), firmly but temperately refused compliance with the intolerant mandate ; and here he (Mr. O'Connell) would not omit repeating an anecdote connected with that occurrence. Doctor Magee upon that occasion went to the churchyard himself, for the purpose of prohibiting the clergyman to officiate, and when there, he saw a poor woman gathering dried leaves that had fallen from the trees. He inquired from her for what purpose sho ranted them, and when she informed him they were to se!

« ÖncekiDevam »