Front Page Titles (by Subject) Section II.: POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES. - Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 1
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Section II.: POLITICAL CONSEQUENCES. - Gustave de Beaumont, Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, vol. 1 
Ireland: Social, Political, and Religious, ed. W.C. Taylor (London: Richard Bentley, 1839). Vol. 1.
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But it is especially in the political institutions of Ireland that we incessantly discover traces of the fatal principle which has vitiated the aristocracy of that country.
Those who imagine that they can explain all the evils of Ireland by the despotism of England, fall into a great error, for this absolute despotism has never existed.
We have seen, in the Historical Introduction, how the conquerors of Ireland, having established a feudal society in the country, the only one of which men hadany notion in those times, this society, by the mere fact of its institution, found itself in possession of rights, privileges, and franchises which England could not dispute.
We have seen how, after the conquest of Ireland, the English, wishing to introduce the reformed religion into the country, founded there a Protestant society, to which England could still less refuse the civil and political liberties already enjoyed by the feudal society.
Finally, we have seen how the native Irish, at first as a vanquished people, and afterwards as Catholics, were excluded from the benefit of these institutions; in what manner this exclusion ceased, and how at present the laws of the country recognise no inequality founded on race or creed.
Dependent, then, as Ireland is upon England, she has always possessed her own free institutions.
It would be a great error to look upon Ireland as making with England one and the same people, subject to the same government and the same laws. We have seen, in the same Introduction, that Ireland has always had her own government and peculiar laws. Thus, Ireland not only possesses free institutions, but, though united to England, she has still her own peculiar institutions. These free and distinct institutions which Ireland preserves, seem exactly modelled from those of England.
Like England, Ireland is in possession of all the essential rights on which the civil and political liberties of nations rest, such as trial by jury, independence of the judges, responsibility of public functionaries, the right of petition, the right of union and association, individual liberty, freedom of the press, and such like.1
In both countries the organisation of the different political powers presents, at least externally, a perfectly similar though distinct aspect.
The supreme authority, which in England is vested in the sovereign, is in Ireland entrusted to the viceroy.
The government of which the viceroy is chief, employs in its executive similar instruments to those used by the English government.2 With both nations there are connected with the central power four supreme courts of justice, which are, as it were, the soul and source of public power in countries where justice and administration are perpetually confounded; these are the courts of Chancery, Queen’s Bench, Exchequer, and Common Pleas.
Both countries are equally divided into counties, over which the state preserves rather than exercises its sovereignty: and in both, the agents by which the central power displays its authority are the same. The principal representatives of the state in an Irish county are the lord lieutenant, the sheriff, and the justice of the peace.
In Ireland, as in England, there are within the state, but independent of the counties, a certain number of incorporated cities or boroughs which do not depend on the central government for their administration, because they have received the privilege of self-government: these are called municipal corporations.
Finally, in both countries, we find at the base of the powers already mentioned, that of the parish; a power sovereign in its sphere, independent of all the rest, and which, in both nations, presents the same external structure.3
Not only is the political edifice, which appears to view, the same in England as in Ireland, but furthermore, the authorities are instituted on the same basis; they bear the same names; all are theoretically created for the same object; they exercise their power according to the same laws; they are nominally subject to the same rules, and restricted by the same limits. And in both countries, the aristocracy is the fundamental principle of all public power.
Whence, then, does it arise, that, with similar institutions, the two nations have had such different fortunes, and that one has fallen into a state of abasement and misery, with a form of government which has placed and kept the other at the summit of greatness and prosperity?
It is because that, though the form is important in political institutions, the spirit is still more important. Now the institutions of Ireland present to the eye the same body as those of England; what is wanting is the soul. The Protestant aristocracy, which in England is the very heart of all political powers, seems in Ireland to be their cancer.
Let any person examine the government of Ireland in all its parts successively, in the state, the county, the municipal corporation, and the parish, and he will find that the same original and permanent vice which corrupts civil society, carries the same corruption into political society; he will find that the same causes which poison the relations between rich and poor, landlord and tenant, do not less materially affect the mutual relations of the governors and the governed.
Influence of the English and Protestant Aristocratic principle on the Powers of the State—Hatred of the People to the Laws—A public accuser in Ireland—The unanimity of the Jury in Ireland—Why Ireland has several official Institutions not found in England.
The Irish viceroy endeavours to reproduce the image of royalty; he holds a brilliant court in Dublin, the etiquette of which is regulated by that of London; he has two palaces, a splendid staff, and his salary, with the allowances, is about 30,000l. annually.1
The viceroy of Ireland, like the sovereign of England, has a privy council; he nominates to all the public offices, which in England are in the gift of the sovereign; he has the same right of pardoning or commuting punishment; and he is equally invested with the singular power of suspending the law, under certain grave circumstances, at his discretion, for which he is responsible only to parliament.2 The Irish viceroy possesses also some extraordinary powers which the sovereign has not in England, but which the peculiar circumstances of Ireland have rendered necessary to its first magistrate.3
Until 1800, Ireland had its own parliament, consisting of hereditary lords and elected commons; for it never enters into any Englishman’s head that any human law could be framed unless by two houses, of which one should be called Commons, and the other Lords.
The legislative power of Ireland was, therefore, composed of three powers designed to balance each other, as in the English constitution. But is not the fundamental error of such an organisation, applied to Ireland, at once apparent? Is it not manifest, that these powers, instead of controlling, would mutually support each other, and that their harmony would not be a union of rival powers, but that of accomplices banded together for a single and common object, the enslavement of the people? In the days of the Tudors, the parliament did what the viceroy pleased; after William III., the viceroy did what the parliament pleased. England had full confidence in the aristocracy of Ireland, and entrusted to it the entire government of the country. It might then be said, that the laws were made in full freedom by the two parliamentary bodies that represented Ireland, but who does not immediately see that such a system of representation was a falsehood?
Who does not at once comprehend the spirit in which laws were made by those lords who, English and Protestant by birth, were the natural enemies of Catholic Ireland; and by this house of commons, which, not less English and Protestant at heart, was in reality a mere creature of the lords, though it was presumed to be elected by the people?
No one could sit in either house, unless he gave proof of his “having taken the Lord’s supper,” according to the Anglican ritual. Could such a parliament, framing laws for a Catholic country, be anything else but the representative of a faction; a mere instrument to maintain the power of a narrow oligarchy, and furnish it with constitutional means of practising oppression?
Having once established this starting point, need we be surprised that the Irish legislature, during the entire course of its long existence, cruelly tyrannised over the country, formed a selfish compact with England, of which poor Ireland paid all the costs; abandoned to England the political and commercial liberties of Ireland, on condition of being maintained in its own domination over the Catholics; subjected the people that it governed to an anti-social code, the cruel and ingenious system of which has been exposed in the Introduction; and finally, by a course of falsehood and blunders, went so far as to proclaim that there were legally “no Papists in Ireland;” in other words, that a nation was blotted from existence! The Irish aristocracy terminated its parliamentary career by an act which pictures its entire life.
One day,4 England came to the resolution that it was bad for Ireland to have its own parliament, deeming it better that the country should be ruled by laws emanating directly from herself; she therefore resolved to abolish the Irish parliament; but how was this to be accomplished? Ireland possessed the right of making laws, and who could take this right away? At the instant of the proposal, all Ireland was in movement; the parliament of Ireland was anti-national, but the right to have a parliament was a national right.5 The aristocracy itself, usually so obedient to the English government, turned restive; for it was about to be deprived of its power of giving law to Ireland.
The difficulty was great, and yet it was easily overcome. The self-same aristocracy, which at the outset disputed with England the right of taking away its privileges, suddenly abandoned them; and, in a short time after it protested against the attempt upon its life, the Irish parliament put an end to its own existence. Why did it commit this suicide? The explanation is simple; the principal parliamentary undertakers, the chiefs of parties, sold their privileges to England for the sum of 1,260,000l. paid down in hard cash, and renounced their parliamentary prerogatives. After all, what cared they for the legislative independence of Ireland, which was never their real country? Besides, the existence of an Irish parliament was not exempt from annoyance. Did it not oblige them every year to spend at least a few months in Ireland? After the union, they would no longer be burdened by this charge; some became peers of England, others members of the British house of commons; all could pass their lives in London, all be delivered from Ireland. They then renounced their rights for the stipulated price; an infamous bargain, in which the corruption of those who bought was surpassed by the baseness of those who sold themselves; a worthy end of a parliament which, during the course of its existence, was rarely independent, almost always servile, never national; and which, when condemned to perish, disposed of its carcass like a criminal selling his body for dissection.6 It was this bargain which brought about the legislative union between England and Ireland, in the opening of the present century.
Since that time, Ireland has had no parliament, but we must not conclude that she has no parliamentary representation. By the articles of union, a part of her lords sit in the English house of peers;7 and the counties, cities, and boroughs of Ireland elect members to the British house of commons;8 these members are elected by the people, according to a system nearly the same as that of England;9 and under which the Irish aristocracy formerly exercised considerable influence over the elections; but this influence, though it has not quite ceased, has been greatly weakened.
Thus, for the last forty years, the Irish aristocracy has ceased to give laws to Ireland, and this is one evil the less, no doubt; but nearly all the laws which were the work of that aristocracy still exist; and if it no longer makes the laws, it still retains their administration.
We have seen, in the Historical Introduction, that the act of union had no other effect than to abolish the Irish parliament, and confer its legislative privileges on the British parliament, which has not only continued the ancient peculiar institutions of Ireland, but has continued to give the country special laws, adapted to these institutions, though analogous to the laws of England. Thus the legislative power of Ireland has been displaced, but no change has been made in the mode of administering the laws.
Of all the general interests with which the state is charged, there is doubtless none more important than the judicial administration; let us take this as an example of the influence produced on government in Ireland by the radical defects of the aristocracy.
The judicial organisation of Ireland is precisely the same as that of England.
The four supreme courts are quite independent of those of England; they are the sovereign guardians of individual liberty, which is placed in their hands by the habeas corpus act; their jurisdiction has the same extent, they administer justice by the same rules, their independence is secured by the same guarantees, for the judges of Ireland, like those of England, are irremovable.
As in England, the Irish judges go circuit to assizes twice a year; the juries are impanelled, and the verdict given strictly in the English form. In Ireland as in England, besides the periodical administration of justice, there is a daily kind which may be called local, though administered by justices of the peace who derive their authority in England from the sovereign, and in Ireland from the viceroy.
But though the most perfect similarity exists between the magistracy charged with the administration of justice in the two countries, still the execution of this justice is very different in the two countries.
Criminal law in England is doubtless not free from faults; it has even preserved some feudal traditions which might be deemed barbarous by a superficial observer. Thus, in certain cases, the prisoner cannot be defended by counsel;10 and he cannot, even by payment, obtain copies of the informations, which the crown-lawyers may use at their pleasure. Finally, the evidence of approvers is admitted against the accomplices of their guilt. These laws are certainly rigorous, and yet, in England, the administration of criminal law displays nothing painful to the friend of humanity; in that country, mild habits correct severe laws; every accused finds in the magistrates, if not benevolence, at least unalterable impartiality. Feelings of equity, and sometimes of indulgence, animate all those who are engaged in the administration of English law; they guide the justices of peace when taking informations; they guide the sheriff in his selection of a jury; they inspire the depositions of the witness, the verdict of the jury, the sentence of the judge, the pardon of the sovereign.
See, on the other hand, the condition of the accused in Ireland. Suppose an unfortunate Irish Cathelic arrested, not for a political crime which might provoke magisterial indignation, but for some ordinary offence,—theft for instance. He is brought before the nearest Protestant magistrate,11 a man of English descent, full of contempt and hatred for the poorer classes of Irish. Now can you suppose that this justice of peace, before whom the poor Irishman is dragged, will examine the proofs of innocence as carefully as the indications of guilt? Do you think, that if the prisoner offers bail, the justice will be as ready to accept it as if the accused were a Protestant? Still the investigation is continued; it depends on the justice of peace whether it shall be fast or slow; but how can he show any anxiety to accelerate it, when he is influenced by no sympathy; when, performing gratuitous functions, he is not interested in displaying zeal; when, on the other hand, not being subject to the superintendence of a superior, he has neither praise to hope, nor censure to fear, for his conduct? It may be conceived, that in such a situation, not stimulated by the consciousness of public duties, and surrounded by absorbing private interests, he will forget what is due to the Papist, who, after all, will be safer under lock and key. In truth, the inquiry, retarded by this negligence, will not be ready at the assizes or quarter-sessions; the affair will be put off for three, or perhaps six months, and the accused must remain all that time in prison, awaiting his trial.12
That day at length comes. A hundred or a hundred and fifty jurors have been summoned by the sheriff; but, in the first place, with very few exceptions, the Protestant sheriff has chosen Protestant jurymen. Out of the hundred, twelve are to be chosen to administer the law—the panel is called—scarcely is the name of a Catholic juror pronounced when he is peremptorily set aside by the clerk of the crown.13 The accused is given in charge to twelve Protestant jurors, for the most part rich persons, equally the enemies of his class and his creed. Now what impartiality can he expect, who perceives in every one of his judges a religious or political adversary? Who can believe that such judges would be animated by the pure love of truth, which is the very first condition of justice? And moreover, how many strange obstacles beset the judge in the trial over which he presides! Frequently in Ireland the accused, being of Celtic race, speaks a language which neither the judge nor the jury, being of English race, can comprehend; hence the necessity of employing an interpreter, who translates to the judge the words of the prisoner, and to the prisoner those of the judge; here consequently is a prime source of confusion. This is not all—as every accused person in Ireland is looked upon as a victim by the people of his class, that is to say, the lower orders, false witnesses abound, and hence a new source of error is opened to the judge and jury. In the midst of this darkness it would be difficult, even with the best inclinations, to be strictly just. How then will matters stand when love of justice is not the predominant passion? For my part, I have been present at many criminal trials in Ireland, and it is impossible to describe the painful feelings with which such a spectacle filled my mind.
It is a sad truth, that, in every Irish court of justice, there are, as it were, two hostile encampments within sight of each other; the accused on one side, the judge and jury on the other. Amongst the spectators, the people is for the accused; the tribunal is supported by the soldiers, the constables, and the wealthy. As, in Ireland, the aristocracy is engaged in an open contest with the people, all that depends on the aristocracy, or sympathises with it, comes to support it on this terrible field of battle, where the strong exterminate the weak in the name of justice and the laws. The prejudices and malevolent passions of which the accused is the object, are displayed on every side; they may be heard in the accent of the judge, seen in the emotions as well as the passiveness of the jury; the very language of the counsel for the defence reveals them. It is difficult to form an idea of the tone of contempt and insolence in which the members of the Irish bar speak of the people and the lower classes. Thus, in spite of the formalities of procedure—in spite of all the legal solemnities which surround the accused in the presence of his judge, there is an inward feeling, that this is not a deliberation of judgment, but a preparation of vengeance; this lie of forms, promising equitable chastisement, but concealing a kind of vengeance, is endured; but, when the judge pronounces the terrible sentence of death, it might be deemed the signal for a fierce engagement between the party of the judge and the party of the accused, were not the court filled with armed policemen, whose presence prevents the parties from coming to blows.
In England, the magistrate sees in every accused person an unfortunate fellow-citizen, a person charged with a crime of which he may be innocent, an Englishman invoking the sacred rights of the constitution. In Ireland, the justices of the peace, the judges, and the jury, treat the accused as a kind of idolatrous savage, whose violence must be subdued, as an enemy that must be destroyed, as a guilty man destined beforehand to punishment. In England, the penal laws are sanguinary, the forms of proceeding are in some respects barbarous, but the manners of the people are humane, the jury is clement, and the judge merciful. In Ireland the penal code is more sanguinary than that of England; all the bad principles of English legislation are practised, and the magistrate is as severe as the law.14
Hatred of Law by the People.
Who now will be astonished to learn that the Irish population, which hates and despises its magistrates, hates and despises the laws of which they are the organs,15 that in Ireland this hatred of the law is universal? Who will be astonished at the horror with which any share in its administration inspires the community?16
Sentence of death was once pronounced at Waterford, the culprit was ordered for execution, but even in that country of paupers no one could be found, at any price, to perform the revolting office, and the first officer of the crown was obliged himself to hang the criminal.17
Who now will be astonished at the public abhorrence which pursues not only every complainant and informer, but also every witness in a criminal trial? Who does not see, that hence results the impossibility of obtaining witnesses without buying them? Who does not comprehend that this contempt and hatred for criminal law produces the most anti-social disposition that can exist amongst any people, the habit of having recourse to violence? Who does not foresee that this consequence of social evil might, if combined with political passions or circumstances, produce a violent revolution?
Will anybody be now astonished at the sympathy which every criminal excites in Ireland? And if matters have reached such a height that murders are committed in the noonday, persons looking on from their windows, and allowing the murderers quietly to escape; if, when the constables have arrested the guilty, the crowd will pounce upon the officers of justice and rescue their prey; if everybody believes that he will sanctify his dwelling by offering a refuge to the malefactor; and if a universal confederation exist in the land, to save from the penalty of law all those pursued by justice; who, I say, can be astonished?
The office of Public Accuser is wanting in Ireland.
The social evil whose influence is observed in the execution of justice, is not only manifested by the passions that it raises in the magistrates and those subject to their jurisdiction; it attacks also judicial institutions in the first principle of their organization, and where it does not make them fatal, renders them unavailing. Thus, for instance, the theory or custom which generally leaves to private interest the care of prosecuting for crime or misdemeanour, is the same in England and Ireland. But who cannot comprehend, that though this system or mode is exempt from peril in England, it is full of danger for Ireland?
It may be conceived, that in a society like that of England, where the sovereignty of the law, the omnipotence of the judges, and the impartiality of the magistrates, are established in all the manners and customs; amongst a people, where all is life, activity, movement,—it may be conceived, I say, that in such a country it would be possible to dispense with permanent functionaries connected with judicial bodies, to enforce the suppression of all infractions of the public peace; in such a society it might be safe to trust private interest with the care of avenging violations of the law. The citizens, accustomed to exercise their civil and political rights, habituated also to the equity of their magistrates, will doubtless be prompt to claim spontaneously the justice which is their right, and will prosecute every attempt on property, liberty, and life, with as much zeal as they assert their right to vote at an election. Thus, society will find a sure defence in the sentiment which will impel everybody to seek his own private redress. In such a country, probably, the citizens will become more skilful in protecting themselves when they will not expect official protection from any authority. Perhaps from this abandonment of private interests to themselves, a new element of power and action will cause a more imperious necessity for a knowledge of the laws, a greater skill in their application; in every heart a more profound sense of its rights, a more enlightened love of its liberty, and thus a principle of social and political power may be derived from that which was at first an imperfection, if not a glaring omission, in the law.
But what will be the consequence if no such public amnesty exists in such a country as Ireland, where private individuals, long deprived of all political rights, and almost all poor, have besides an invincible repugnance to invoke the authority of the judge; where the law as well as the judge is hated; where the feeling of right is extinct; where no confidence is reposed in justice or its organs? It must happen, that private zeal will not supply the want of public activity, and that the greater number of the crimes committed will remain unpunished from not being brought under cognizance of the magistrates. It is not merely through pity for the criminal or distrust of the judge that complaint will be hushed, it will be omitted through ignorance of the right. No prosecutions will then be witnessed but such as are instituted through passion rather than interest. Hate alone will instigate prosecutions in a country where it is too often by the same sentiment that they are tried. Recourse must then be had to the most immoral means to effect the discovery of crime. Not only will public rewards be occasionally offered to informers, but the law will be found formally consecrating the right of every indigent person to a pecuniary reward for discovering a crime, or aiding in the conviction of a criminal.18 How strange a means of inculcating justice, which violates the most simple laws of morality!
Unanimity of the Jury in Ireland.
It is in England a fundamental law of the institution of a jury, that the unanimity of its members is necessary to a verdict. Although at first sight it seems difficult to imagine any subject on which twelve reasoning men could perfectly agree without a single dissentient, still we find the principle of the jury work in England without much embarrassment; and all collisions between contrary and violent opinions end in the triumph of the sentiment which is mildest and most humane.
In Ireland the same principle exists, but how is it to be put in practice? Will you compose the jury exclusively of Protestants? Then, doubtless, unanimity will be established as easily as in an English jury. But if an Irish Catholic be at the bar, there is reason to fear that this unanimity, sometimes so difficult, may be rather too prompt in returning a verdict of guilty.
Will you, instead of Protestants, place none but Catholics on the jury? Then it is intelligible that unanimity will be easy; but this time it is for the accused Protestant that fears must be entertained. Perhaps you will compose the jury of Protestants and Catholics indifferently, the only just course in such a case. But then, how are men, separated far more by political passions and prejudices of caste than by difference of creed, to arrive at unanimity of opinion?
This is a difficulty which seems to increase the more it is investigated. Does the judge refuse to deliver the jury, and lock them up until they agree upon their verdict? Such a proceeding is a sentence of death upon those jurors whose health is not so sound as their conscience. Perhaps, seeing that there is no chance of agreement, the judge will dismiss them without requiring a verdict; in such a case, the trial not being completed, must be adjourned to the next assizes, and the accused must remain three or four months in prison waiting for a second jury, which will perhaps be no less discordant than the first.
Thus one of two things almost always happens; either the unanimity obtained is marked by passion and party spirit, or it is not obtained at all. Justice is not possible when its source is thus tainted.1920
It is thus that political and social circumstances may render a principle of civil legislation evil in one country, which has been proved beneficial in another.
How and why it has been found necessary to create in Ireland a certain number of Official Functionaries which do not exist in England.
Of all the cares which an aristocracy really anxious to govern takes charge, there is doubtless none which demands more knowledge, more zeal, and more constant efforts, than the administration of justice; and when we consider the variety of duties that devolve on justices of peace in England and Ireland,—all the usages that they must know, all the statutes that they must apply, all the objects of police entrusted to their vigilance,—the multitude of judgments that they pronounce in civil matters,—the gravity of the sentences which they have sometimes to pronounce with all the severity of judicial forms,—finally, all the responsibilities that result from each of their actions,—we can scarcely conceive it possible for large proprietors, men of business, occupied with their own affairs, and not versed in the study of the law, could discharge such complicated functions with any success. In England, nevertheless, the difficulty, if not overcome, has been fairly combated; and although English justices of the peace are neither exempt from errors nor faults, justice is never wanting in the country, and magistrates are rarely wanting at the petty sessions, where ordinary business is transacted. The spectacle presented by a court of quarter sessions in England is often worthy of admiration.
But the task of administering the law was too severe for the justices of peace in Ireland; it could not be executed by an incapable and indifferent aristocracy. It constantly happened that, on the day of the week fixed for granting summonses and other magisterial duties, two justices were not found in attendance, and the course of law was suspended for want of magistrates. Often also, when the justices of peace assembled at quarter sessions, there was not one of them qualified to act as chairman: and here it was not the absence, but the incapacity of the judge, which rendered justice impossible.
The evil long remained without remedy; the Irish continued loaded with a burden which it had neither spirit nor strength to bear, until at length the central government, taking pity on its weakness and inefficiency, came to its assistance. A law was passed in 1796, authorising the executive power to employ stipendiary magistrates, and place them in all the localities where gratuitous justices of the peace were not sufficient for the administration of justice. And to aid the justices of peace at the quarter sessions, the same law commanded the executive power to send to these assemblies a member of the bar to guide and direct their deliberations, and to assist in their judicial functions, whence he is called the assistant barrister. Although, according to law, the justices of peace are not bound to choose this barrister as their chairman, they very rarely elect any other person, so deep is their sense of their own weakness and their own incapacity.
Finally, as this aristocracy, destitute of all moral influence over the minds of the people, required the aid of physical force to produce obedience, the law has created a large corps of agents, half civil and half military, analogous to the gendarmerie of France, called the constabulary force; these are placed under the control of justices of the peace, charged with executing the mandates of the magistrates, and protecting them in their functions; and government has conferred on the chief constables the power of executing, themselves, all the functions of judicial police, which in England can only be performed by justices of the peace.
It is a sad and perilous condition for an aristocracy to be under the necessity of invoking and receiving the aid of the central government. In fact, which of the powers created for its support may not be employed to attack it? An aristocracy can only remain masters of its powers by personally exercising them; it has no real existence, and no true power, but when it brings to its functions of government knowledge and virtue. Now, how can it be skilful when it does not impose upon itself the cares of government? How can it be generous when, for both the country and the people, it neither feels affection nor sympathy?
Influence of the same principle on the institutions of the county.
In Ireland, as in England, the state is divided into counties. As in both countries, the central power neither directly nor by agents occupies itself with the details of government; it is naturally in the county, which is the principal division of the state, that the administration of public affairs, properly so called, is made. Though the state cannot properly be said to administer the affairs of the county over which it is in principle the sovereign administrator, the state nevertheless has its own officers in the county, the chief of which are the sheriff, the lord lieutenant, and the justices of the peace.
These officers of the central government discharge in the county two sets of functions; the first may be called general, as they interest the entire country, the most important of which, the administration of justice, has been explained in the preceding chapter; the second may be named local, because they are specially directed to the affairs of the county in which they reside.
There are many things connected with the administration of an Irish county which in England belong to other bodies. For instance, it is the county that in Ireland undertakes most of the public labours undertaken in England by parliamentary boards of trust and commissioners, such as canals, &c. The county also regulates all the roads small and great, which in England are either turnpike trusts, or managed by the parish.1 There was little public charity in Ireland previous to the introduction of the New Poor Law; but the few charitable institutions, infirmaries, and dispensaries belonged to the counties, whiilst in England all public charity belongs to the parish.
In England, the special interests of the county are regulated at the quarter sessions; in Ireland, the magistrates at quarter sessions are limited to the administration of justice. At special sessions and road sessions they discuss county interests: but their examination of them is merely preparatory: they recommend rather than decide. The final decision must be controlled and sanctioned by the grand jury, a body which in Ireland plays the chief part in the administration of the county.
The grand jury in Ireland is at once a judicial and administrative body; it assembles twice a year, and then administers those affairs which in England are managed at the quarter sessions. The body that regulates the affairs of an English county deliberates, decides, and acts in perfect independence; whilst the administrative functions of an Irish grand jury are to a certain extent under the control of the judge, whose fiat is necessary to the execution of their presentments.2
Though the grand jury ceases to exist with the assizes, yet the same persons are generally summoned by the sheriff at the ensuing assizes. The judge might certainly oppose obstacles to an Irish grand jury which are not encountered by the English court of quarter sessions; but the central power has been so closely connected with the aristocracy, that few sheriffs or judges have been chosen in opposition to its will; practically, therefore, the Irish grand jury may be deemed as free in its actions as the English court of quarter sessions.
A moment’s reflection will sufficiently show that the same moral causes, which render the same judicial institution beneficial in one country and pernicious in the other, are, for much stronger reasons, capable of exercising the same influence over the administrative functions.
The rich Protestant, who, as a justice of peace, acts in the capacity of judge, is doubtless subject to passions that bias his judgment; but still in his sympathies for the Protestant, and in his enmity to the Catholic, he is fettered by judicial forms, and obliged to cover his most iniquitous proceedings by a mantle of equity, which sometimes fails him, and from want of which he must either stop short, or compromise his character. His administrative functions are not thus embarrassed; he has no need to prove the same equity in his acts, and he is more easily unjust, because his injustice is less subject to publicity. Thus the arbitrary decisions arising from favour or hatred, and the oppression resulting from selfishness, are more easily practised by the administrator than by the judge: consequently we must not be astonished if the great landlords of Ireland, who as justices of the peace give such sad specimens of justices, should exhibit in general the most barefaced selfishness in their administration, and if it be difficult to find in their acts any views of public interest, or any trace of generous sentiment.
Invested with the exorbitant right of taxing the county, they bear heavily on the poor, and lightly on the rich. When these rates are levied, to what purpose are they applied? They are spent to promote the interests of the rich, and they are never applied to the profit of the poor. If they have any assistance to bestow, it is given to the Protestant, and not to the Catholic, though the former be rich and the latter poor. Does any one suppose that, when they create an office, it is for the general interest? Not at all; it is instituted to provide for some favourite. Authority is, in their hands, only a means of advancing their own affairs. If a road is to be made, they consider their own personal convenience, not the wants of the country; and the county will pay a heavy tax, not to join some important centres of population, but to make an easy and agreeable communication between the houses of two rich proprietors. But at least, in this country of misery and ignorance, will they not found schools and hospitals? No. What then will they do for the people? They will provide barracks and prisons, almost the only splendid buildings in Ireland. Finally, they will commit such enormous abuses, such gross frauds, and such monstrous excesses, as to reader “Irish grand jury jobs” proverbial in England.
The rich in Ireland, masters of the entire administration, hold in their hands all the powers of society. How then shall they set bounds to their own authority? “It is,” said Montesquieu, “proved by invariable experience, that every man invested with power is tempted to abuse it; even virtue itself has need of limits.” If limits be wanting to virtue itself, how far will that selfishness advance which has none?
If the best aristocracy is not exempt from faults, it may be fairly said that a bad aristocracy is the worst of governments; and nowhere are its vices more clearly displayed than in the daily administration of the laws. If an aristocracy feels sympathy with the population, its members, dispersed among the people, will be more inclined to protect the weak and succour the poor, as they will be continually witnesses of the weakness of the one and the indigence of the other; and the more powerful and rich they are, the more capable will they be, while maintaining their own privileges, of defending the rights of their inferiors. But when this aristocracy is the natural enemy of the people, its power no longer affords tutelary aid; should it be sufficiently strong and clever to preserve its own prerogatives, it will not extend the benefits of its strength; all its members will keep their privileges, but those beneath them will not have their rights. In such a state, there will be all the subjection of inequality, with all the evils of servitude.
Nowhere will the oppression of the people be so easy and certain as in such a society, for nowhere will the oppressed be so much within reach of the oppressor. In a country where every landlord is at once an enemy of the people and a public functionary, it may be said that tyranny is everywhere.
If all things unite to render pernicious an aristocracy whose principle is vicious, it must be added that they equally tend to render it odious. When an aristocracy is not rejected by the national and religious sentiments, it has, in the eyes of the people it governs, one singular merit, exaggerated perhaps, but still a great glory and a great power,—that of exercising its functions gratuitously. It doubtless finds in the social state by which it is supported, advantages and privileges which amply indemnify it for its labours; but then its members do not positively receive a salary; and there is in this apparent disinterestedness a something that singularly affects the mind of the multitude, and induces the many to honour the character of those whose generosity they admire, at the same time that they recognise the superiority of their intelligence. But this merit of an aristocracy is changed into a grievance, when, instead of being popular, it is odious to the nation.
In fact, it seems as if oppression were more readily pardoned to a salaried magistrate or judge, who, in practising it, seems only to perform the task by which he gains his livelihood. It may be supposed that this functionary is only a passive agent, who in his heart laments the evil that his hand produces; but when he is an unpaid agent, it is naturally supposed that he takes a pleasure in oppression, and that he practises with all his heart the tyranny of which society does not defray the expenses.
Influence of the same Principle in the Municipal Corporations.
Having examined the vicious principles of the Irish aristocracy on the powers of the state and the administration of the county, we are about to consider the influence of the same principles on the government of cities and towns, called municipal corporations.
Neither in Ireland nor England are all the towns incorporated, and also there are municipal corporations to which we could scarcely give the name of towns; for instance, the borough of Naas. A town is not a corporation because it contains a certain number of inhabitants, but because it possesses a charter: it is incorporated, not by right, but by privilege, the only universal and invariable privilege which existed in all societies of feudal origin.
The differences between the English and Irish corporations are not less striking than those between the English and Irish counties. In Ireland, the unchartered towns are the best governed. How, then, does it come to pass that in Ireland, where we have seen all public powers so open to abuse, municipal corporations should enjoy a bad pre-eminence for extravagance, jobbing, and tyranny? How happens it that we scarcely find in them a single one of the original principles on which their institution is based?
Thus the first and fundamental principle is, that the corporation should be composed of all persons contained within the precincts of the city, and that all should concur in the choice of the body by which the city is represented. Nevertheless, in most Irish municipalities, the great majority of the population is excluded from the right of citizenship.1 Who would believe that Belfast, that large and magnificent town, does not legally contain more than fifteen or twenty citizens?2 It is another fundamental condition of municipal institutions, that the body representing the city should be composed of those who are most identified with its interests, and most capable of comprehending them. Nevertheless, in most of the Irish cities, the representative body is in a great degree formed of persons destitute of fortune and education, and sometimes of non-residents.3 There are mendicants in the corporation of Dublin, while the most wealthy merchants are refused admission into that body. It is also an essential principle of corporations, that the body representing the city, the freemen, should be themselves represented by the officers who act in their name; nevertheless, corporate officers are not so elected in Ireland; by an incredible abuse, these officers have acquired the right of nominating each other.4 When an alderman’s place is vacant, the other aldermen choose his successor; and these aldermen, whom the citizens have not elected, nominate the mayor, the sheriffs, and all the officers of the city. Thus not only is the city non-represented by the corporation, but, in addition, the corporation is not represented by its own officers. In these corporations several offices are grasped by the same functionary; the governing body multiplies sinecures for the profit of its members; the grossest acts of selfishness are perpetrated without shame; the corporations of Trim and Kells alienated their lands, that two or three of their members might purchase them at a nominal price; the corporation of Naas granted to a noble lord one of its members’ lands, worth five hundred pounds, for twelve pounds; and at Drogheda, the corporation ruled that the charitable funds belonging to the city should be exclusively expended for the profit of members of the corporation and their families.5
And why all these contradictions?—why this violation of all principle?—why this assemblage of abuses? A principal cause supplies the explanation. It was necessary in the beginning to exclude the Irish from the cities in order to preserve the monopoly of commerce and wealth to the English settlers, and consequently laws and regulations were made, which excluded the natives, as Irish, from the corporate body. It was similarly necessary to exclude the Catholics from the right of citizenship, in order to maintain the Protestant ascendency in Irish towns.6 Consequently the laws required that before a person should be admitted as a freeman, he should take the oaths of supremacy and abjuration. For cities where there were no Protestants worthy of representing the city, either from want of fortune or personal merit, it was necessary to invite to this representation either strangers devoted to the aristocracy, or poor persons sold to it. Finally, it was necessary to restrain as much as possible the number of freemen and corporate officers, in order that the aristocracy should have less trouble in their corruption, and less expense in their purchase.
Vainly have most of the laws which consecrated these exclusions been abolished: their spirit has survived their text. The emancipating law of 1793 opened the corporations to Irish Catholics, and rendered them eligible to the body of freemen; but this law is a dead letter. Catholics are admissible; but the admission depending on the body of freemen, these, being Protestants, refuse to receive Catholics. Thus in Dublin, where more than one half of the population is Catholic, there is not a single Catholic in the corporation.
The emancipation act of 1829 declared that, for the future, Catholics might not only be admitted as freemen into the municipalities, but moreover that they should be eligible to all the civil and judicial offices at the disposal of the corporation. But how can Protestant bodies, refusing to recognise Catholics as their fellow-citizens, elect one of them a magistrate?
There are certain radical vices in institutions against which the laws are powerless, when they are protected by usage and custom.
Formerly, in England, the municipal corporations presented in their government a portion of the vices and abuses which we have pointed out in those of Ireland. These vices and abuses were less pernicious in England than in Ireland, because, in the former country, they were subservient to an aristocracy which, after all, is not unpopular; whilst, in the latter, they only exist for the profit of an aristocracy odious to the nation. A recent law has thoroughly reformed the English corporations, and re-established them on a new and popular base. In Ireland, on the contrary, the old feudal and Anglican system of corporations has been left standing as the inviolable sanctuary of aristocratic privilege and Protestant monopoly.7
Influence of the same principle on the parish.
It only remains to examine the effects of the same principle on the parish, where it exercises perhaps a still more potent influence than over all the other powers.
Irish parishes are, in theory, constituted on the very same principles as those of England; the parish in both countries has a democratic foundation, and forms an equal anomaly amidst institutions derived from feudality.
The powers mentioned above, that of the state, that of the counties, that of the municipal corporations, have all the same origin: they all proceed from the sovereign, the only source of power in a feudal society: the municipal corporations themselves have a free and democratic constitution, only because they have received from the sovereign the privilege of thus constituting themselves. The parish has a principle absolutely opposite: it proceeds from the people.
This double source of political institutions in England explains better, perhaps better than anything else, the perpetual conflict between two adverse principles which we encounter in English society, and which we find in perpetual war; the one authority, the other liberty; the former drawing all power to a centre, the latter diffusing it amongst the people: the first supported, sometimes by the sovereign, sometimes by the parliament; the second taking its root in the parish: one a Norman principle, the other a Saxon principle.1
When William the Conqueror and his Norman knights succeeded in the conquest of England, they found the Saxon parish established there, the free principle of which was then in perfect harmony with that of all the other powers. William and his successors destroyed those institutions which placed power in the hands of the people, and seized on all authority themselves; still, in this general destruction, one power was spared, that of the parish, which was, perhaps, respected on account of its semi-religious character, and became, under the tyranny of the Normans and the Tudors, the only asylum where the old Saxon liberties found a shelter.
When the Anglo-Normans conquered Ireland they brought with them the Saxon parish as well as the Norman county; there is not a single constituent principle of an English parish which may not be equally found in an Irish parish. How comes it to pass that the Irish parish, so similar in theory, should in practice be so different from one in England?
In England, the parish is full of movement an life; it is the centre of a multitude of great interests; it gives life and vigour to the principles of popular liberty, which are shaded by the aristocratic edifice.
A great social inequality doubtless reigns in England; but it is necessary to be present at a vestry meeting in that country to judge to what extraordinary liberty this inequality is allied. There may be seen with what independence of language and thought an obscure English citizen opposes a lord to whom he bowed down a moment before. He is not his equal:—but within the limits of his right he is equally free, and he is conscious of the fact. His right is to discuss the interests of the parish, and this right he exercises not only with liberty, but with a prudence and skill which it is astonishing to find in an orator whose stained hands and coarse habits prove him to be an artisan, or a man of the lowest class. The English institutions, collectively, form no doubt an aristocratic government, but there is not a parish in England which does not constitute a free republic.
In Ireland, on the contrary, the parish, which presents to the eyes the same external appearance as the English parish, has nothing of its life: possessing the same organs, it is languishing and inert, if not quite dead. Whence is this difference? One principal cause explains it.
Without doubt, the Irish parish did not, at its origin, find the same favourable circumstances which cradled the parish in England. When once the tempest of the Norman conquest was passed, the English parish raised its head, and continued to grow and develope itself in a country where it had taken root. The institution of a parish was introduced into Ireland by the Anglo-Normans, who carried with them the body rather than the spirit of the Saxon institutions; it necessarily suffered from transplantation into a land which had not given it birth: it wanted the Saxon soil, and it may be doubted whether, under the most propitious circumstances, it would have acquired the vigorous existence possessed only by institutions that sprang from a country and its habits.2 But a pernicious influence was superadded, which at once blighted its growth,—that of the Protestant principle, violently introduced into the centre of the Catholic population.
The first attribute of the parish, the very essence of its institution, is the support of public worship, the building and repairing of the church, providing salaries for its officers, &c. Now, what took place in Ireland, a country profoundly Catholic, when the English, having turned Protestant, undertook to make their new creed predominant in that country? In the first place, they forbade those parishes in which there were no Protestants to assemble in vestry, and provide for the support of their religion, the exercise of which was declared a crime. By this single act, three-fourths of the parishes of Ireland were at once despoiled of their first interest. Their next proceeding was to order that every parish in which there were any Protestants should be bound to pay for the support of worship what had been formerly contributed to the Catholic church; so that not only the vestry of a parish composed exclusively of Catholics could not assemble to vote money for the support of their own church, but it was further obliged to assemble, deliberate, and vote the expenses necessary for the support of the Anglican faith, simply because it was the creed of two or three members. Such a requisition was palpably absurd. How, in fact, could men persecuted on account of their religion willingly tax themselves to support the creed of their persecutors? The Catholics refused a vote which it was sheer madness to ask.
What then was to be done? It was required that the entire parish should defray the expenses of the Protestant church; but the vestry, the majority of which was Catholic, refused the rate.
In such a state of things, as it was impossible to force the conscience of the Catholics, it was resolved to violate the essential principle on which the parochial institution rests; and a law was passed, depriving Catholics of the right of voting on all questions concerning the Anglican church, and giving the Protestants, however few in number, the exclusive right of forming the vestry, voting the sums necessary for the expenses of their church, and raising the amount by a rate levied equally on Catholics and Protestants. Thus, in the greater number of parishes, Catholics had nothing to do with providing for worship; and in the parishes where a few Protestants had been raised, a different religious interest, an almost imperceptible minority, gave laws to the majority. Thus, in the greater number of instances, the parish in Ireland was deprived of its proper functions; and in the others it only preserved them at the price of violating its fundamental principle, and perpetrating gross injustice.
Still the law which excluded Catholics from the vestry, where provision was made for the Protestant worship, left them access to those which were assembled for any other purpose. But when once religious interests were set aside, what remained to be done in an Irish parish?
One of the greatest interests under the management of the parish in England is public charity. It is in England a fixed principle, that every indigent person has a right to the assistance of society, and the aid thus claimed by the poor is for the most part given by the parish.3 This is an abundant source of immense duties and endless cares; for this obligation of providing for the wants of the poor brings with it, in England, a multitude of accessory charges. After having given bread to the poor man, the English parish deems it necessary to provide a residence if he wants one, clothes if they be required, medicine if necessary: if the poor man has children, the parish not only offers them the same aid, but further believes that it is bound to support and educate them; so that, in England, parochial charity comprehends not only food for the hungry, but moreover houses of refuge, hospitals and schools.
Why is it that in Ireland we find the parishes undertaking no such charge? The reason is sufficiently plain, and it is found in the English and Protestant character of the aristocracy. The poor-law dates from the reign of Elizabeth. Now, at that period, the sentiment which induced the rich in England to aid the poor had no existence in Ireland, where the rich were English and Protestants; and the poor, Irish and Catholics. The long resistance of the vanquished had inspired the conquerors with too much rancour to leave them accessible to the ordinary feelings of humanity; and on the day when the conquerors became, as Protestants, the religious enemies of the Catholics, it may be said that the sources of charity were dried up in Ireland. This is the reason why, in this country of paupers, a poor-law is but of very recent introduction; why, until now, public charity has never been instituted in the face of the most excessive misery imaginable. Whilst in England it is a principle that every pauper has a right to legal support, in Ireland the principle is rather, that the rich owes nothing to the poor; and hence the management of public charity, which has so greatly extended the sphere of parochial business in England, has added nothing to it in Ireland, where it was already so destitute.
The Irish parish, which was deprived of its most natural functions to advance the Protestant interest, has recently been deprived of its principal and almost its only rights, as a boon to the opposite interest.
The injustice of subjecting the Catholic population of parishes to the vote of an exclusively Protestant vestry having been finally recognised, a law was passed in 1833, prohibiting the levying of church-rates, and the parish has consequently abandoned all care of religious interests. Thus, the Irish parish, possessing the same powers and invested with the same forms as the English parish, is, by the effect of one single principle, so essentially different, that whilst the one is the very heart of political society, the other is almost inanimate power. It is with difficulty that any object can be found to engage the attention of an Irish parish; it is not power that is wanting, but functions; at present its only business is to elect its officers, the clerk, the churchwardens, the beadle, &c., and to provide for their salaries. But when these officers are elected and their stipends voted, they are no doubt legally instituted, but they have nothing to do.4
Influence of the same principle on an institution common to all public powers,—judicial authority, the only supreme administrative power.
The most striking feature in the political powers of society in England and France is the almost total absence of an organised system. It is true that the houses of parliament enact supreme laws destined for all parts of the empire, but no state-authority attends to their execution. The parish acts by its officers, the corporation by its magistrates, and though there are state-agents in the counties, such as the lord lieutenant, the sheriff, and the justices of peace, yet their functions are gratuitous, and it is difficult to establish any durable direction given by superior power to unsalaried agents. The trustees of roads and canals are only controlled by parliament, and a deliberative assembly is obviously unfit to superintend the execution of the laws. In England and in Ireland, the only authority that has really a right to exercise a direct control over all these various powers, is the judicial authority.
The tribunal which in this respect exercises the widest and most potent jurisdiction is the Court of Queen’s Bench, which in both countries is considered the supreme representative of the executive power. But this court does not and cannot interfere, save on the requisition of the interested parties. Such a system of administration, though perhaps good for England, cannot but be defective in Ireland.
The object of a system which places the control over all administrative bodies and agents in the judicial authority, is to give inviolable guarantees to the liberty and property of the citizens. But, in the first place, what can be the protection of this authority in a country where it is so difficult for the judge to be just, and where the person in need of justice is so little capable of demanding it? Such a system, we must see, is singularly complicated; it requires not only the confidence of suitors and good feelings in the judge towards the suitor, but also that the latter should have sufficient intelligence to comprehend the wrongs they sustain from power, and sufficient fortune to defray the expenses of a suit. Now the justice that is open to all is expensive, its forms are tutelary, but singularly slow, and the abuses of authority must have become excessive before persons will apply to law for redress.
It is easy to conceive that such a system might be applicable to a country like England, where the law is sufficiently popular for the citizens to seek its protection, and where these citizens are sufficiently enlightened and sufficiently rich to have recourse to justice. It may happen that several frauds and abuses of power will be committed in such a country, without the injured parties making a formal complaint; but there will, nevertheless, be always a sufficiently large number of suits instituted by personal interest or passion to bind public functionaries to the observance of the law.
But what must be the effect of such a system in a country where law is hated as hostile to the people, where the citizens, unaccustomed to defend their rights, are nearly all indigent? Of what value to a nation of paupers, long kept under the yoke, is a principle which, to be put in practice, requires great wealth and old habits of freedom? How can the judge, who is often unable to preserve his impartiality in the trial of an ordinary crime, because the prosecutor and accused are of a different religion, or because he looks upon them as of distinct races,—how, I say, can he decide, without favour or affection, a quarrel between public authority and a private individual? The plaintiff is a Catholic! the defendant is a Protestant! and is not the Catholic population in a state of war, not only against the Protestants, but against all authority? The functionary inculpated is rich; the plaintiff is poor; and is not the poor man in Ireland at war with the rich? The Protestant and wealthy functionary must therefore be supported against the poor Catholic complainant. When once his part is taken, the magistrate will not be in want of legal excuses to justify it: even supposing that those obstacles which shut the heart of the judge against complainants did not exist, can it be supposed that this population, which, as we have seen above, is scarcely able to demand justice for ordinary crimes, would be better able to establish its grievances against the agents of public authority, and distinguish at a glance the limits, often so hard to be discovered, between the legitimate exercise of power and its abuse? Assuredly, if ever there was a country in which the administration ought to act alone,—without demanding any money from the people, or requiring from it any cognizance of its rights,—by agents all whose movements should be spontaneous,—that country is Ireland. The Irish functionary, menaced by the possibility of a judicial suit, is in general little restrained by this fear, when the abuse of his authority is directed against some unfortunate being with whose ignorance and poverty he is acquainted; and yet does he not easily persuade himself that his conduct has been irreproachable, since it has never been made the subject of a trial? Thus, at the same time that redress is offered in the sanctuary of the laws to all who have reason to complain of public functionaries, a thousand obstacles render its attainment almost impossible to the people. Judicial authority is the sovereign guarantee of all rights—he who is charged with its administration does not dispense it,—he who needs it does not demand it. This is the reason why, with a principle designed to protect the property of the rich and the liberty of all, we find in Ireland liberty without defence, property without guarantees, and security for nobody.6
[1.]The exercise of these rights is, however, more jealously watched in Ireland than in England.
[2.]There are some differences which are noted in a subsequent page.
[3.]The Irish parish is now of little importance.
[1.]This sum is, however, barely adequate to the necessary expenses of his station.
[2.]The exercise of the prerogative of mercy by an Irish lord-lieutenant was never questioned until the present year. It might be asked, of the expiring Orange faction as it was of Edward I.,
[3.]He can proclaim counties or baronies, and thus put them under the restrictions of the Coercion Bill.
[5.]The Union was a most unpopular measure.
[6.]One of the supporters of the Union being asked, “Will you sell your country?” replied, “Yes, and thank God I have a country to sell!”
[7.]Twenty-eight peers chosen for life.
[8.]One hundred and five commoners.
[9.]Forty-shilling freeholders have been deprived of the elective franchise in Ireland.
[10.]This law has been greatly modified.
[11.]This description of the Irish magistracy is greatly exaggerated.
[12.]In this respect the administration of justice has been recently improved.
[13.]The abominable system of packing juries was abandoned under Lord Normanby’s administration; but recent efforts have been made to revive it by Lords Brougham and Roden.
[14.]The criminal law is more penal in Ireland than in England.
[15.]Confidence in the magistracy has greatly increased of late.
[16.]Law is more respected than it used to be.
[17.]Sir Richard Musgrave, the libeller of the Irish Catholics, was the sheriff.
[18.]Grand Jury Act, sect. 105.
[19.]Such cases are now becoming rare.
[20.]See Parliamentary Inquiry into the Administration of Justice in Ireland.
[1.]The country has also the care of public canals, bridges, &c.
[2.]This fiat is often refused.
[1.]First Report of the Municipal Corporations Inquiry.
[2.]First Report of the Municipal Corporations Inquiry.
[3.]First Report of the Municipal Corporations Inquiry.
[4.]First Report of the Municipal Corporations Inquiry.
[5.]First Report of the Municipal Corporations Inquiry.
[6.]Protestants, however, are excluded as well as Catholics.
[7.]This abuse cannot continue another year.
[1.]The Saxon institutions were more free than those of the other Germanic tribes.
[2.]The translator does not share in the author’s doubt; parochial self-government is well suited to the Irish character.
[3.]The new poor law limits the right of the English parish
[4.]They regulate the economy of the church and churchyard.
[6.][Note text has been omitted from the English translation. Please see the French version of the book for the content of this note.]