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awakened, and its inhabitants divided by theological controversy, they remained in a state of ignorance, poverty, and oppression. During this period it may be said with truth, that

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Knowledge to their eyes her ample page,

Rich with the spoils of time, did ne'er unroll;
Chill penury repressed their noble rage,

And froze the genial current of the soul.

CHAP. VII.

ADDITIONAL REMARKS ON THE REFORMATION, AND ON THE CAUSES BY WHICH ITS PROGRESS IN IRELAND HAS BEEN RETARDED.

NATIONS resemble individuals as to the progress of the reasoning powers: the human mind is slowly matured; its principles and faculties are gradually unfolded; and its complete cultivation and expansion are only the result of patient discipline. Nature, when she presents a flower to our view, exhibits it complete in all its parts; but she occupies time in bringing it to its full maturity.

But circumstances, we have seen, occurred in Ireland to counteract this beautiful state of progressive advancement to happiness and perfection. It was, however, whilst these circumstances operated with all their force, that the reformation under Henry VIII. was advancing in England, and that its friends attempted to introduce it to this country. - The spirit of religious dis" quisition had indeed forced its way into 66 Ireland, with the succession of English set. '

“ tlers, so that in the famous parliament of " the tenth year of Henry the Seventh, laws " had been enacted to prevent the growth of 66 Lollardism and heresy. But such seeds of :« reformation found an unfavourable soil, and “ could scarcely spring up with any consider" able degree of extent and vigour. Ireland " was not a place for those circumstances to

operate, which favoured the first reformers “ in other parts of Europe. A people not « connected by one and the same system of

polity, and for the most part strangers to the "refinements and advantages of the political " union; harrassed by a perpetual succession 66 of petty wars, distracted by mutual jealousy, " and the most civilized among them living ” in continual alarm, and daily called out to 56 repel invasion ; could have little leisure for “ speculation, and little disposition for those 66 enquiries, which were pursued with such - avidity in countries more composed. The “people had severely felt the oppression of the “ clergy; but what in other countries appeared “ the capital and leading grievance, was but 66 one of those oppressions which this land $ experienced. Others were more grievous, “ and required more immediate redress. When « Europe had declared almost unanimously “ against the yoke of ecclesiastical power, a "slight attempt made in one province of Ire6 land, to circumscribe the privileges of the 16 clergy, raised a most violent and insolent “ clamour among the order, although it

amounted to nothing more than empower"ing the civil magistrate to imprison eccle66 siastical debtors. .,“ Had the generous policy prevailed of col“ lecting all the inhabitants into one body of “ English subjects, a union and pacification of “ ages, must have prepared the people for the " reformation now proposed; but among the 6 fatal consequences of excluding the old “ natives from the pale of English law, blind“ ness and bigotry proved the natural c ons " quences of a disquieted, uncivilized, and 56 dissolute mode of living: and the irregulari6.ties in the ecclesiastical constitution of « Ireland, naturally resulting from the odious " and absurd distinction of its inhabitants, 66 contributed in no small degree to confirm 56 the people in the grossest ignorance, and, of 66 consequence, in the meanest superstition: 66 In those dioceses where law and civility “ were most prevalent, the prelates found it - impossible to extend their pastoral care or “ jurisdiction to the districts occupied by the " old natives. In these districts, where war “ and confusion chiefly raged, the appoint

6 ment of prelates and pastors was sometimes 6 totally neglected.

“ A clergy without discipline or knowledge, " and a laity without instruction, were, in pro“ portion to their ignorance, abjectly attached “ to the papal authority; the only authority in “ religion, which they had been accustomed “ to reverence; and which, for the first time, as they now heard impeached with astonish“ ment and horror. And one peculiar pre“judice there was in favour of the see of “ Rome, which operated equally on the Irish, " and even on the more enlightened of the 66 English race. Ireland had been for ages “ considered, and 'industriously represented “ as a fief of the pope, in right of the church “ of Saint Peter. By virtue of this imaginary 65 right, the seigniory of this kingdom, it was so well known, had been conferred on Henry 66 the Second. The Irish parliament had oc-66 casionally acknowledged this to be the only 66 legitimate foundation of the authority of the “ crown of England. It was, therefore, ac“ counted. more especially profane and damna“ ble, to deny the authority of the Pope, even “ in his own inheritance; and that a prince “ entrusted with this inheritance, for the pro"s tection of religion, should disclaim his “ father and his sovereign, and impiously

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