Page images

In the small town of

where I reside, in the West of England, some pious persons succeeded, the year before last, in establishing a Society on the model of the Home Missionary in London ;-with this difference, that the labours of the latter are principally confined to England, while ours were chiefly, if not exclusively, directed to the conversion and illumination of the poor benighted Irish.

The Ladies of our Town, in particular, were so impressed with the urgency, of raising that unfortunate race from darkness, that every moment of delay in sending Missionaries among them, appeared, as it were, an age lost to the good cause.

“ What could be more imperative,” they asked, “than the claims of those destitute souls upon us ?-If the County of Worcester, which has hitherto been accounted the Garden of England, is now (as the Report of the Home Missionary assures us) become, for want of preachers, “a waste and a howling, wilderness,'* what must the mountains of Macgillicuddy be ?"

* "The Rev. Timothy East, of Birmingham, states, in a published Sermon, which we earnestly recommend to the attention of the Public, that the County of Worcester has been termed the Garden of England; but, in a moral light, it may be regarded as a waste, howling wilderness

In this temper of our little community, it was my lot to be singled out-as knowing more of Catholic countries than the rest, from having passed six weeks of the preceding summer at Boulogne-to undertake the honourable, but appalling task of Missionary to the South of Ireland.

To hint any thing of my personal fears to the Ladies (all Christians as they were), was more than I had the courage to venture. As a brave man once said, to excuse himself for not refusing some coxcomb's challenge, “I might safely trust to the judgment of my own sex, but how should I appear at night before the maids of honour ?"

I, accordingly, prepared myself as speedily as I could for the undertaking; and read every book relating to Ireland that was, at all, likely to furnish me with correct notions on the subject. For instance, in every thing relating to political economy and statistics, I consulted Sir John Carr-for accurate details of the rebellion of 1798, Sir Richard Musgrave--and for statesman-like views of the Catholic Question, the speeches of Mr. Peel.

I was also provided by our Society with a large assortment of Religious Tracts, written expressly for the edification of the Irish peasantry; particularly, a whole edition of a little work by Miss of our Town, to the effect of which upon the Whiteboys we all looked forward

very sanguinely. With the details of my journey to Dublin I shall not trouble the reader, nor with any account of the curiosities which I witnessed during my short stay in that city. I visited, of course, the Parliament House, which is a melancholy emblem of departed greatness. In the House of Lords, the only relic of its for. mer

pomp is a fragment of an old chandelier, which they show mournfully to strangers, as “ the last remaining branch of the Aristocracy" and the


of this structure which was the House of Commons, is, since the Union, by a natural transition, converted into a Cash office.

Having received all proper instructions from many other

the manager of the Religious Tract Establishment in Sackville Street (to whom our fellowlabourers of the London Tavern had consigned me), I left Dublin in the Limerick Coach, on the 16th of July, 1823, in company with a gentleman who wore green spectacles and a flaxen wig, and who was, in

respects, a very extraordinary personage.

As he was one of those people, who prefer monologue to dialogue, he talked through the whole journey, and I listened to him with exemplary patience.

The first place of any note, on our way, was Naas--near which there is the ruin of a magnificent house, begun, but never finished, by Lord Strafford, when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. In pointing it out to me, my friend in the green spectacles said :-“ It is melancholy to think, that while in almost all other countries, we find historical names of heroes and benefactors, familiarly on the lips of the common people, and handed down with blessings from generation to generation, in Ireland, the only remarkable names of the last six hundred years, that have survived in the popular traditions of the country, are become words of illomen, and are remembered only to be cursed. Among these favourites of hate, the haughty nobleman who built that mansion, is to this day, with a tenacity that does honour even to hate, recorded; and, under the name of Black Tom, still haunts the imagination of the peasant, as one of those dark and evil beings who tormented the land in former days, and with whom, in the bitterness of his heart, he compares its more modern tormentors. The Babylonians, we are told by Herodotus, buried their dead in honey -but it is in the very gall of the heart that the memory of Ireland's rulers is embalmed."

From his use of metaphors, and abuse of the Government, I should have concluded, that my companion was a genuine Irishman—even if the richness of his brogue had not established his claim to that distinction.

In passing by the town of Kildare ke directed my attention, to the still existing traces of that ruin and havoc, which were produced by the events of the year 1798-“one of those ferocious rebellions (as he expressed himself) whose frequent recurrence has rendered Ireland,

« PreviousContinue »