§ Mr. Sergeant Jackson
presented a Petition from several hundred inhabitants of Cork, praying that no further grant of public money might be allowed for Maynooth College. The petitioners complained that the interference of the Roman Catholic Clergy had done away with all freedom of election; and that the Roman Catholics of Ireland were well able to support that establishment, as they paid in voluntary contributions to one man more than would support the College twice over. The clergymen educated at Maynooth by the public bounty were not at all the most efficient promoters of peace and good will among the Irish people, for it was a notorious fact, of which every day's experience furnished lamentable illustration, that they turned their chapels into political arenas, and used their pulpits as rostra from which to spout the most inflammatory doctrines to their misguided and credulous flocks—in fact, English gentlemen could form no adequate conception of the extent to which the priests carried the agitation disturbance. Everything English and Protestant was the subject of unceasing, and unmitigated attacks by the present race of priests educated at Maynooth. At every election they were the busiest agents, and the greatest promoters of disturbance.
§ Mr. O'Dwyer
said the Protestant Clergy interfered much more, and more mischievously, at elections than the priests.
§ Mr. Shaw
denied that there was any comparison between the two bodies. The Roman Catholic clergymen proposed and nominated candidates, and dragged the freeholders to the place of polling in a manner which, if it had been done by Protestant clergymen, he should consider most disgraceful. The Protestant clergy, no doubt, exercised the right of suffrage, but then they did not go beyond the pale 897 of that right, and become the stimulators to outrage and violence. Look to the conduct of the Catholic clergy that week in Carlow; they were there found proposing and seconding the candidates, and, not content with that, they were exerting all their influence their station and calling gave them in marring the independence and purity of election by coercing the will of the electors, and goading on the populace to violence and outrage. Their power, if not checked, would supersede the power of all law and Government, and spread general confusion and discord throughout the country.
took the liberty of saying that the statements of the right hon. and learned Gentleman were totally false. It was true that Catholic Clergymen had spoken at elections, and seconded the nomination of candidates; for instance, one of them seconded Mr. Vigors, a Protestant Member. Their speeches were printed and published, and it would be seen that they did not deserve the character given them by the correspondents of the right hon. Gentleman as to their existing violence. Were there not many persons in Ireland who would be ready, and were exceedingly anxious for opportunities, to prosecute them, if they said one word that would make them liable? But their protection was, that they carefully avoided violating the law, while, as men and citizens, they exercised that right to which they were entitled. But, on the other hand, there was violence used against the Catholics by the Orange party, particularly in one county, for no other reason than because they were Catholics. Was the right hon. Gentleman aware that almost all the Protestant clergy interfered with elections? ["No, no."] He would tell them of one case where they did, and he could mention names if he chose. Mr. Mahony, of Dromore. But he utterly denied the charge against the Catholic clergy.
§ Mr. Shaw
would call the recollection of the House to a recent occasion, on which the hon. and learned Member made the same assertion respecting other correspondence which he (Mr. Shaw) had received. The hon. and learned Member then as confidently asserted as he did now that his (Mr. Shaw's) information was false. The hon. and learned Gentleman was ever ready with his confident assertions, which were afterwards disproved. But what was 898 the result in the case he alluded to when inquiry was made? He would leave that to the judgment of the House. [Mr. O'Connell: What case do you allude to.] The case of David Murphy.
said, he would deny that his assertions were disproved in that case. Mr. Shaw's own documents did not substantiate his former accusation.
§ Petition to lie on the Table.