James Warren Doyle (1786-1834)


Life
[‘“J.K.L.”, or commonly “JKL”, viz., James Kildare and Leighlin], b. nr. New Ross, Co. Wexford; witnessed atrocities of 1798; ed. Carnsore Point, Augustinian Abbey, New Ross, 1799; entered novitiate, 1805; sent to Coimbra University, Portugal, 1806-08; acted as interpreter for Wellington’s Army and then with the British Mission at Lisbon; ord. an Augustinian priest, Enniscorthy, 1809; tutor to seminarians at Carlow College; Professor of Rhetoric, Carlow College, 1813; Chair of Theology, 1814;
 
elevated to Catholic Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, 1819-34; opposed agrarian terrorism in his sermons; openly supported O’Connell and Catholic Emancipation; formidable opponent of Established Church; established author of A Vindication of the Principles and Rights of the Irish Catholics (1823) [var. 1824], under monogram ‘JLK’; also Letters on the State of Ireland (1824-25);
 
maintained close link with Archb. Daniel Murray (Dublin); condemned Kildare Place Society Protestant proselytes on the grounds that it made improper use of state finance, resulting in the withdrawl of that finance in 1831; established diocesan libraries and attacked establishment of public libraries; revived parish retreats; organised mammoth retreat involving majority of hierarchy and 1,000 parish priests, 1820;
 
advocated union of Anglican and Roman Catholic churches, in spirit of ecumenism, 1824; influential witness before Select Committee into Irish conditions, March 1824 [DIB var. 1825; and also in 1839 and 1832], being questioned on topics such as sacraments, miracles, papal authority, payment of clergy, and the Veto; forbade his clergy to engage in polemical controversy with evangelicals as contrary to public peace, 1825; wrote prolifically in papers as “JKL”;
 
exchanged letters with Dr Magee, Protestant Archbishop of Dublin and accused Lord Farnham of joining in evangelical crusade against people of Ireland, drawing a letter in answer from Caesar Otway (A Letter to J.K.L. on the subject of his Reply to Lord Farnham, Dublin 1827); first bishop to support Daniel O’Connell publically; opposed disenfranchisement of 40 Shilling Freeholders in 1829; disputed in pamphlets with Bishop Elrighton of Leighlin and Ferns, former provost of TCD, 1828;
 
supported Fr. Martin Doyle of Graiguenamanagh (a cousin) who resisted the distrainment of his cattle as tithe-payment and organised wider resistance, initiating the ‘Tithe War’, and supplying its slogan, ‘May your hatred of tithes be as lasting as your love of justice’, 1830; initially supported Repeal Movement, though favouring reform legislation (in fear of fresh rebellion), 1829-30; gave evidence on the state of the poor, 1830 and disputed with O’Connell who proposed that the Repeal movement was his poor law;
 
supported National Education system, 1831, urging his clergy to seek its support for parish schools; On the Origin, Nature, and Destination of Church Property (1831); reformed diocesan discipline, and opened libraries; built schools on graveyards to make up deficit to requirement left by recalcitrant landlords; built Carlow Cathedral, consecrated 1828; d. of tuberculosis, 16 June, at Braganza House, Carlow; Carlow Museum preserves much of his effects. CAB ODNB PI JMC DIB DIW DIH OCIL FDA

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Works
  • Second Letter of J.K.L.[,] a Roman Catholic bishop: in reply to the charge with notes of the Protestant Archbishop of Dublin ([Dublin]: printed by J.J. Nolan 1822), 12pp. [20cm.]
  • A Vindication of the Religious and Civil Principles of the Irish Catholics; in a letter addressed to … the Marquis Wellesley … by J.K.L. [3rd edn.] (Dublin 1823), 71pp., 8°.
  • A Defence by J.K.L. of his Vindication of the Religious and Civil Principles of the Irish Catholics (Dublin: Richard Coyne; London: Keating, Brown, & Keating 1824).
  • Letters on the State of Ireland addressed by J.K.L. to a friend in England [in] 1825 (Dublin: Richard Coyne 1826), 364pp. [ULRLS; [see extract - as infra; also reprints edns. - as infra];
  • A Reply by J.K.L. to the late charge of … Doctor Magee Archbishop of Dublin, submitted … to those to whom the … charge was addressed, 2 pts. in 1 (Dublin 1827), 8°[Nat. Lib. Scotland].
Reprint edns.
  • Thomas McGrath, [ed.,] The Pastoral and Education Letters of Bishop James Doyle of Kildare and Leighlin, 1786-1834 (Dublin: Four Courts Press 2005), 396pp.
  • Letters on the State of Ireland Addressed by J.K.L. to a Friend in England [in] 1825, [facs. rep.], introduced by Michael Hurst [Letters and Commentaries on Ireland ser., gen. ed. Hurst], 6 vols. (London: Thoemmes 2001), Vol. 6, 364pp.
 
Related documents
  • William Phelan & Mortimer O’Sullivan, eds., The Report of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the ‘State of Ireland’ and Particularly the Whiteboy Agitations (1824);

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Criticism
  • W. J. Fitzpatrick, The Life, Times and Correspondence of Dr. Doyle, 2 vols. (1861);
  • Michael MacDonagh, Bishop Doyle (“JKL”), A Biography and Historical Study [New Irish Library] (1896);
  • Thomas McGrath, Religious Renewal and Reform in the Pastoral Ministry of Bishop James Doyle of Kildare & Leighlin, 1786-1834 (Dublin: Four Courts Press 1998), 367pp. [with index];
  • McGrath, Politics, Interdenominational Relations and Education in the Public Ministry of Bishop James Doyle of Kildare and Leighlin (Dublin: Four Courts Press 1998), 330pp.

See also Seámus Ó Néill, ‘J.K.L: Duine na hEireannaigh ba Mó’, in Lámh Dhearg Abú: Aistí agus Dréachtaí (Dublin: Coiscéim 1982) p.168ff.

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Commentary
R. R. Madden: Dr. Madden’s United Irishmen, takes its epigraph from “JKL”: ‘The mind of a nation, when long fettered and exasperated, will struggle and bound, and when a chasm is opened, will escape through it, like the lava from the crater of a volcano.’

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W. M. Thackeray, ( Irish Sketchbook [1842], ed. John A. Gamble, Belfast: Blackstaff Press 1985), on Carlow Cathedral: ‘Bishop Doyle, the founder of the church, has the place of honour within it; nor, perhaps did any Christian pastor ever merit the affection of his flock more than that great and high-minded man. He was the best champion the Catholic church cause ever had in Ireland, in learning, and admirable kindness and virtue, the best example to the clergy of his religion, and if the country is now filled with schools where the humblest peasant in it can have the benefit of a liberal and wholesome education, it owes this great boon mainly to his noble exertions, and the spirit which they awakened. [Para] As for the architecture … overloaded with ornaments … innumerable spires and pinnacles … [out] of the perpendicular.’ (p.39.)

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W. P. Ryan, The Pope’s Green Island (1912), refers to a long summary published in his paper The Irish Peasant of Bishop Doyle’s ‘expressive doctrines’ in his “Essay on the Catholic Claims”, addressed to Lord Liverpool (p.36).

Sean O’Faolain, The Irish (1947): ‘It was not until the first decade of the following century that any signs of spirit appear among the Catholic clergy, and then a man like the famous ‘J. K. L.,’ James Warren Doyle, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, forms an astonishing contrast not only to his predecessors but even to his contemporaries. This is not surprising. We remember that for generations the official -and legal title for a Catholic was ‘Papist’; that the Catholic Church was never referred to as such but as ‘the Roman Catholic communion in Ireland,’ as if it were a peculiar local sect; that priests generally dressed in discreet brown so as not to attract attention; are always (as in Tone’s diaries) spoken of as ‘Mister’ So-and-so; that an Archbishop of Dublin, in forwarding a curate’s letter to Dublin Castle for perusal, could add, ‘You note he calls me “Lord,” but I do not claim the title, and I can’t prevent him from using it’; that, as Tom Moore noted in his Diary, whereas Archbishop Troy, the Catholic, died worth tenpence the Protestant Archbishop of Armagh left £130,000, having throughout his life enjoyed an income of £20,000 a year, largely made up of the pence of peasants (Catholics) unwillingly subscribed as tithes. It sums up the dispiritedness of the Catholic Church that when Dr. Doyle became Bishop - Tone then seventeen years dead - he found that nobody had dared hold a confirmation service in his diocese for twenty years, his chapels were thatched cabins, the vestments were worn and torn, the chalices were old or even leaked. / ‘J. K. L.’ did, in his day, give magnificent encouragement to his people. On the other hand he was a rigid constitutionalist: his great opponents were the secret societies that the rebelly spirit of the century before had set flourishing among the tough men of the collieries, and he fought them to his dying day - often literally with the sweat pouring off him, haranguing them in their basalt thousands under the open sky. This horror of physical revolt, of all revolutionary defiance for established law and order, goes so deep into the spirit of the Church of the time that it is worth probing a little farther into the causes of it, and its prolonged effects. [&c.] (pp.94-95.); Further, O’Faolain refers to the JKL legalism in the context of his ‘disagreements with Delhogue and Anglade’. (See Fitzpatrick’s Life, pp. 83, 156; The Irish, p.97.)

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Sean O’Faolain, on ‘James Warren Doyle, Augustinian priest, and Bishop’: ‘He was a great man, the scourge of his clergy … His predecessor in the see of Kildare and Leighlin lived in the bog in a mud hovel. So did the church cower in the bad century, the eighteenth. Doyle was of a different metal. With his long lean hands he used to tear the thatch form the cabins unfit to be churches, and rip the tattered vestments in two, trying to make his clergy realise that the bad century was finished and done with. Poor men, they sometimes sewed up the vestments when he was gone. Once he took a leaking chalice and smashed it with a stone … [Hears Slievenamón sung on radio] That sad song came out of the bad century. That I can hear it tonight - that we have not been blotted out and lost everything, we owe to men like JKL.’ (An Irish Journey, 1940; quoted in P. J. Kavanagh, Voices in Ireland, Murray 1994, p.151.)

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John Philip Cohane, The Indestructible Irish (NY: Hawthorn Books 1969): ‘Two statements most pertinent to the past and current state of affairs in Ireland were made by the same leading Roman Catholic churchman in the first half of the nineteenth century. At the beginning of the fight for Catholic emancipation J. W. Doyle, bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, proclaimed for all to hear, “If a rebellion were raging from Carrickfergus to Cape Clear, no sentence of excommunication would ever be fulminated by a Catholic prelate.” Near the end of the fight - with the populace wildly excited and convinced that Daniel O’Connell was about to direct his fire toward repeal of the Union with England or was even prepared to lead them out in armed rebellion-one finds the same man, Bishop Doyle, delivering the following remarkable oration before an English House of Commons committee on the state of Ireland: “I am fully convinced that if the disabilities under which the Roman Catholics labour were removed we would be so incorporated by interest and affection with the State that the same pledge which is required of his Majesty’s other subjects - namely the oath of allegiance - would be sufficient to secure our attachment at all times to the Crown and to the institutions of the country [102]; for our religion, our Church rather, is in its nature monarchial. It has, I might say, a natural tendency to support a Kingly government, and if it were to do anything to disturb or destroy the institutions existing in these countries, it would be acting as it were contrary to its own nature. […] We have no mind, and no thought, and no will, but that which would lead us to incorporate ourselves fully and essentially with this great Kingdom, for it would be our greatest pride to share in the glories and riches of England.” / So there it was out in the open, 655 years after Strongbow’s landing at Waterford, the same basic singleness of purpose uniting the English Crown and the church of Rome in common action against the Irish people, here reaffirmed by the official mouthpiece of the Irish hierarchy - the same old party line which contributed to some of the most frightful disasters in the past and which, unless the reunificiation of Ireland evolves peacefully, will aassuredly lead to major castastrophe in the future. / Of special interest is the careful distinction Bishop Doyle made between “our religion” and “our Church”. While no one would wish to deny that the Roman Catholic religion has been the chief - at times the only - solace and support of the Irish people, no such position of honor can be set aside for the Roman Catholic Church. In a paraphrase to the old adage that marriage is an institution designed to help two people endure problems that wouldn’t exist if they weren’t married, one might say that the Roman Catholic religion has helped the Irish people endure problems, many of which wouldn’t have existed if it hadn’t been for the Roman Catholic Church. Daniel [103] O’Connell struck at the same nail from adifferent direction when he said, “We take out religion from Rome, our politics from home”, an adage which, alas, he and others often forgot, and many are still forgetting.’ (pp.101-03.)

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Brian Girvin, ‘Making Nations, O’Connell, Religion and The Creation of Political Identity’, in Daniel O’Connell, Political Pioneer, ed. Maurice R O’Connell (1991), pp.13-34: O’Connell’s letters to Bishop Doyle, include the following, ‘the combination of national action – all Catholic Ireland acting as one man – must necessarily have a powerful effect on the minds of the ministry and of the entire British nation.’ Corres. III, pp.372-3. Letters to Paul Cullen, at the end of his life, appear in Corres., VII (pp.155-60; [Girvin, p.33]).

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Fergus O’Ferrall, ‘Liberty and Catholic Politics 1790-1990’, in O’Connell, op. cit. 1991, pp.35-56, compares the impact of JKL’s Vindication of the Religious and Civil Principles of the Irish Catholics (1823) in Ireland with that of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense (1776) in America. Doyle proclaimed his love of the British Constitution because of his experience continental regimes. He compared the Irish and the Jews, ‘.. as the Israelites sighed for their country, when on the banks of the Euphrates they hung their harps upon the willows and sighed, and wept, as they remember Jerusalem.’ Doyle challenges the ‘essential Protestantism of the Constitution, and argued that Catholics had accepted the revolutionary changes in the relationship between rulers and ruled which had occurred in the seventeenth century, although liberal Catholics might be suspected of adopting the Enlightenment as a pretence, they were sincere in their adoption of liberal ideas. He urged a closer affinity Catholic doctrine and practice with contemporary thought. [cp45].

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Joseph Leerssen, Mere Irish & Fíor Ghael, 1986, p.435, Catholic emancipationists also dwelt on the injustice meted out to the Catholic population, and strove to prove the political reliability of the Catholics by showing their meekness in the face of this adversity -thus, for instance, Bishop Doyle.

Peter Costello, Clongowes Wood (1991), On Doyle’s dealings with the Jesuits, and an anecdote of plain-talking at Peter Kenney’s table, where JKL comments doubtfully, ‘luxurious splendour of Clongowes might tend to promote pride and voluptuousness if not counteracted by fasting, prayer and meditation’ (p. 31); also remarks on ‘Dr. Doyle’s ‘Gallican stance on Church-State relations’ and further: ‘[He] suggested a union of the Christian Churches in Ireland […] rigorous Continental training at Coimbra […] suspected Jesuits of leniency in confession’ (ibid 28.)

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Quotations
A Defence by J.K.L. of his Vindication of the Religious and Civil Principles of the Irish Catholics (Dublin: Richard Coyne, bookseller &c to Roy. Coll. of St. Patrick, Maynooth; London: Keating, Brown, and Keating 1824), 120pp. Beginning: ‘The letter, which I had the honor of addressing to his Excellency the Marquis Wellesley, has produced a considerable sensation; a sensation, however, which has already abated, and will gradually subside, like every other which has its cause in the sensibility of the Irish character; but the impression produced by it on the public mind and common snese of the country, is not likely to be so transient or temporary. Strange as it will undoubtedly appear to some, it is for the purpose of confirming that impression that I now presume to address, not his Excellency, whom I would not trouble with the perusal of many things which I may be induced to notice, but the public, who are often indulgent even to the most importunate. / As to the personal abuse which has been profusely lavished on my myself … I submit to it. … [W]hen I undertook to vindicate the principles of Irish Catholics, I did not suppose that I could labour to stem the torrent of abuse, which threatened to overwhelm them, without affording, to the captious and malevolent, new subject of obloquy - new topics of vituperative declamation … &c. [3] … the rapid sketch which I drew of the misfortunes of this ill-fated land, comprehended several reigns.’ [5] An Appendix [sects.] A and B deals with the physiology and testimony to medical miracles, presumably as part of the vindication of Catholic beliefs. Further: ‘Bound with it is a retort, Miscellaneous Observations of JKL’s Lettr to Marquess Wellesley on Tracts and Topics by E. Barton, and on The Letter to Mr Abercrombie by ---, by S.N.; epigraph “Farrago Libelli” (Dublin: Richard Milliken 1824), 83pp; makes repeated reference to the charge against JKL of ‘stirring up the minds of the people, and keeping alive in them a sense of their wrongs’, and regards the arguments by which JKL attempts to defend himself as ‘decisive proofs that the charge is well founded’ [7], quoting JKL as having written: ‘We will never cease, my Lord, while our tongues can move, or our pens can write, to keep alive in the whole empire, as well as in our own people, a sense of the wrongs we suffer. Our fetters are too galling, our chains too closely rivetted, our keepers too unfeeling, for us to remain long silent, or permit them to enjoy repose.’ (p.45) [7] He further makes derogatory reference to JKL’s argument in favour of medical miracles, as instances by the medical appx. on palsy in the above pamphlet.

United Episcopalian Churches: ‘The Union of the churches, however, which you have had the singular merit of suggesting to the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, would altogether and at once effect a total change in the dispositions of men; it would bring all classes to co-operate zealously in promoting the prosperity of Ireland, and in securing her allegiance for ever to the British throne. The question of emancipation would be swallowed up in the great enquiry, how Ireland could be enriched and strengthened, and in place of the prime minister inventing arguments to screen an odious oppression, and reconcile an insurrection act of five and twenty years’ duration with the Habeas Corpus Act and Magna Carta, we would find him receiving the plaudits of the senate, the thanks of the soverein, and the blessings of millions for the favours which he could so easily dispense. This union … not so difficult … one great family of Christians … if Protestant and Catholic divines of learning and a conciliatory character were summoned by the crown to ascertain the points of agreement, the differences between the Churches, and that the result of their conferences were made the basis of a project to be treated on between the heads of the Churches of Rome and of England, the result might be … favourable.’ (Quoted in the introductory note to extracts in Cabinet of Irish Literature, ed. Charles A. Read [1876-78], Vol. 2, p.242 [as infra] - with the remark: ‘aided circulation of the Bible; advocated strongly the union of Churches of Rome and England, causing great sensation’.

Note that the same introductory phrases appear in Irish Literature, gen. ed. Justin McCarthy (Washington: Catholic University of America 1904), with the chief difference that the quotation is not given (p.919) [available at Internet Archive - online.]

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Letters on the State of Ireland (1825): ‘I am labouring as the advocate of the poor … there are times and circumstances when [a priest] is justified, nay, when he is obliged, to mix with his fellow countrymen, and to suspend his clerical functions whilst he discharges those of a member of society. I myself … have devoted many a laborious hour to the service of a people engaged in the defence of their rights and liberties … the [R.C.] clergy … have [never] been charged with betraying their sacred trust, or embezzling the property of the poor … When the ancient religion was expelled … clergymen, so-called, still appeared among their fellow-men [who] did not consider it a portion of their duty to be employed in works of mercy, or to devote the property which had passed into their hands to those sacred purposes for which it was originally destined … The poor were cast out into the wilderness … the [Prot. clergy] could not be blamed, they had a title and a calling different from their ancestors … is it not clear, is it not evident, that the great mass of the poor are in a state of habitual famine, the prey of every mental and bodily disease? … the distracted air and incoherent language of the wretched father who starts from the presence of his famished wife and children … the virgin, pure and spotless as the snow of heaven, [seeking] through the ministry of Christ for some supernatural support whereby to resist the allurements of the seducer and to preserve untainted the dearest virgin soul! … But Ireland, always unhappy, always oppressed, is reviled when she complains … we look at her pastures … her fields … her flocks … her ports … her rivers … her inhabitants … her position on the globe, and she seems to be intended as an emporium of wealth, as the mart of universal commerce, and yet … but no, we will not state the causes, they are obvious to the sight and to the touch; it is enough that the mass of her children are the most wretched of any civilised people on the globe.’ Further, ‘the great mass of the poor are in a state of habitual famine’ (Letters); ‘I myself … have devoted many a laborious hour to the service of a people engaged in the defence of their rights and liberties … the [R.C.] clergy … have [never] been charged with betraying their sacred trust, or embezzling the property of the poor …’ (Extract in Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature, 1904; see full extract - as infra.)

"The True Friends of the Poor and the Afflicted" - A Picture of Suffering Ireland
(from Letters on the State of Ireland).

I am labouring as the advocate of the poor, of the unprotected, and of the distressed. I can ask with Cicero how could I fail to be interested in the general agitation of religious and political, civil and ecclesiastical interests; or how could I be insensible to the generous impulse of our nature? St. Paul himself exclaims: “Quis infirmatur et ego non infirmor, quis scandilizatur et ego non uror.” In every nation a clergyman is separated from society only that he may labour the more efficiently for his fellow-men, and his duty of administering to their temporal wants is not less pressing than that of devoting himself [920] to their spiritual concerns. The one ought to be done by him, and the other ought not to be neglected.
 There are times and circumstances when he is justified, nay, when he is obliged, to mix with his fellow-countrymen, and to suspend his clerical functions whilst he discharges those of a member of society. I myself have once been placed in such circumstances, and devoted many a laborious hour to the service of a people engaged in the defense of their rights and liberties. The clerical profession exalts and strengthens the natural obligation we are all under of labouring for our country’s welfare; and the priests and prophets of the old law have not only announced and administered the decrees of Heaven, but have aided by their counsel and their conduct the society to which Providence attached them. In the Christian dispensation priests and bishops have greatly contributed to the civilization and improvement of mankind; they have restrained ambition, they have checked turbulence, they have enlightened the councils of kings, and infused their own wisdom into laws and public institutions. Arts and sciences are their debtors; history and jurisprudence have been cultivated by them. They have been the teachers of mankind, and have alone been able to check the insolence of power, or plead before it the cause of the oppressed.
 The clergy of the Catholic Church have been accused of many faults; but in no nation or at no time - not even by the writers of the reign of Henry the Eighth - have they been charged with betraying this sacred trust, or embezzling the property of the poor. In Ireland, above all, where their possessions were immense, their hearts were never corrupted by riches; and, whether during the incursions of the Danes, or the civil wars, or foreign invasions, which desolated the country, it was the clergy who repaired the ravages that were committed, rebuilt cities and churches, restored the fallen seats of literature, gave solemnity to the divine worship, and opened numberless asylums for the poor. Whilst Ireland, though a prey to many evils, was blessed with such a clergy, her poor required no extraordinary aid; the heavenly virtue of charity was seen to walk unmolested over the ruins of towns and cities, to collect the wanderer, to shelter the houseless, to support the infirm, to clothe the naked, and to minister to every [921] species of human distress; but “fuit Ilium et ingena gloria Dardanidum.”
 When the ancient religion was expelled from her possessions, and another inducted in her place, the church and the hospital and the cabin of the destitute became alike deserted, or fell into utter ruin. This change, with the others which accompanied or followed after it, in Ireland threw back all our social and religious institutions into what is generally called a state of nature - a state, such as Hobbes describes it, in which men are always arming or engaged in war. Clergymen, so-called, still appeared amongst their fellow-men, but they were no longer “of the seed of those by whom salvation had been wrought in Israel”; they did not consider it a portion of their duty to be employed in works of mercy, or to devote the property which had passed into their hands to those sacred purposes for which it was originally destined. They were like the generality of mankind, solely intent on individual gain, or the support or aggrandizement of their families, but totally regardless of those sublime virtues or exalted charities which the Gospel recommends. They found themselves vested with a title to the property of the poor; they did not stop to inquire whether they held it in trust; there was no friend to humanity who would impeach them for abuse, and they appropriated all, everything to which they could extend their rapacious grasp. The churches were suffered to decay, and the spacious cloister or towering dome through which the voice of prayer once resounded became for a while the resort of owls and bats, till time razed their foundations and mixed up their ruins with the dust. The poor were cast out into the wilderness, and left, like Ishmael, to die; whilst Ireland, like the afflicted mother of the rejected child, cast her last sad looks towards them, and then left them to perish. These men “ate the milk, and clothed themselves with the wool, and killed that which was fat; but the flock they did not feed, the weak they did not strengthen, and that which was sick they did not heal, neither did they seek for that which was lost; but they ruled over them with rigour and with a high hand.” They could not be blamed; they had a title and a calling different from their predecessors; and the state, [922] from which they derived their commission, could not infuse  into them virtues which can only emanate from Christ.
 The evidence already given to Parliament shows that the average wages of a labouring man in Ireland (and a great mass of the poor are labourers) is worth scarcely THREEPENCE A DAY! Threepence a day for such as obtain employment, whilst in a family where one or two persons are employed there may be four, perhaps six, others dependent on these two for their support! Good God! an entire family to be lodged, clothed, fed, on threepence a day! Less than the average price of a single stone of potatoes; equal only to the value of a single quart of oat-meal! What further illustration can be required? Why refer to the nakedness, to the hunger of individuals? Why speak of parishes receiving extreme unction before they expired of hunger? Why be surprised at men feeding on manure; of contending with the cattle about the weeds; of being lodged in huts and sleeping on the clay; of being destitute of energy, of education, of the virtues or qualities of the children of men? Is it not clear, is it not evident, that the great mass of the poor are in a state of habitual famine, the prey of every mental and bodily disease? Why are we surprised at the specters who haunt our dwellings, whose tales of distress rend our hearts - at the distracted air and incoherent language of the wretched father who starts from the presence of his famished wife and children, and gives vent abroad in disjointed sounds to the agony of his soul?  
 How often have I met and laboured to console such a father! How often have I endeavoured to justify to him the ways of Providence, and check the blasphemy against Heaven which was already seated on his tongue! How often have I seen the visage of youth, which should be red with vigour, pale and emaciated, and the man who had scarcely seen his fortieth year withered like the autumn leaf, and his face furrowed with the wrinkles of old age! How often has the virgin, pure and spotless as the snow of heaven, detailed to me the miseries of her family, her own destitution, and sought through the ministry of Christ for some supernatural support whereby to resist the allurements of the seducer and to preserve untainted the dearest  [923]  virtue of her son! But above all, how often have I viewed with my eyes, in the person of the wife and of the widow, of the aged and the orphan, the aggregate of all the misery which it was possible for human nature to sustain! And how often have these persons disappeared from my eyes, returned to their wretched abode, and closed in the cold embrace of death their lives and their misfortunes! What light can be shed on the distresses of the Irish poor by statements of facts when their notoriety and extent are known throughout the earth?  
 But Ireland, always unhappy, always oppressed, is reviled when she complains, is persecuted when she struggles; her evils are suffered to corrode her, and her wrongs are never to be redressed! We look to her pastures, and they teem with milk and fatness; to her fields, and they are covered with bread; to her flocks, and they are as numerous as the bees which encircle the hive; to her ports, they are safe and spacious; to her rivers, they are deep and navigable; to her inhabitants, they are industrious, brave and intelligent as any people on earth; to her position on the globe, and she seems to be intended as the emporium of wealth, as the mart of oniversal commerce ; and yet, ... but no, we will not state the causes, they are obvioas to the sight and to the touch; it is enough that the mass of her children are the most wretched of any civilized people on the globe.

[Given in Irish Literature, gen. ed. Justin McCarthy (Washington: Catholic University of America 1904), pp.919-23; available at Internet Archive - online. American spellings have been Anglicised in the present version.]

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No dislike: ‘I am an Irishman, hating injustice, and abhorring with my whole soul the oppression of my country; but I desire to heal her sores, not to aggravate her sufferings. In decrying, as I do, the tithe-system, and the whole Church Establishment in Ireland, I am actuated by no dislike to the respectable body of men, who, in the midst of fear and hartred, gather its spoils. On the contrary, I esteem those men, notwithstanding their past and still, perhaps, existing hostility to the religious and civil rights of their fellow-subjects and countrymen […] What I aspire to, is the freedom of the people […] which can never be effected, till injustice, or the oppression of the many by the few, is taken away. And, as to religion, what I wish, is to see her freed from the slavery of the state, and the bondage of Mammon; […] her ministers labouring, and receiving their hire for those for whom they labour; […] and thus religion may be restored to her empire, which is not of this world, and men once more worship God, in spirit and in truth.’ (Quoted [inter alia] among title-page epigrams in John Cornelius O’Callaghan, [q.v.] The Green Book, or Gleanings [of] a Literary Agitator, 1841).

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Segregate? ‘I do not see how any man, wishing well to the public peace, and who looks to Ireland as his country, can think that peace can ever be permanently established, or the prosperity of the country, ever well secured, if children are separated at the commencement of life, on account of their religious opinions. I do not know any measures which would prepare the way for a better feeling in Ireland than uniting children at an early age and bringing them up in the same school, leading them to commune with one another and to form those little intimacies and friendships which often subsist through life.’ (Quoted in D. Akenson, The Irish Educational Experiment, 1970, pp.92; cited in Hugh Kearney, ‘Contested ideas of Nationalhood 1800-1995, in Irish Review, Winter/Spring 1997, p.9.)

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References
Charles A. Read, The Cabinet of Irish Literature, [1876-78]; provides a long notice (vol. 2, pp.242-44): his mother descended from Quakers; watched Battle of New Ross from behind hedge; ed. by a Mr Grace till 1800, then Rev John Crane, Augustinian; entered convent at Grantstown, Carnsore Point, 1806; proceeded to Coimbra, finding religious faith absent in a time of skepticism, ‘I recollect, and always with fear and trembling, the danger to which I exposed the gifts of faith and christian morality … I examined the systems of religion prevailing in the East; I read the Koran with attention; I perused the Jewish history and the history of Christ, of his disciples, and of his church, with an intense interest; and I did not hesitate to continue attached to the religion of our Redeemer as alone worthy of God.’ Acted as a diplomatic link between Portuguese government and Wellington; returned Ireland 1808; Prof. of Rhetoric, Carlow, 1813; slovenly garb and ungainly appearance; bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, 1819; purified his parishes of abuses; wrote in defence of his Church as “JKL”; aided circulation of the Bible; advocated strongly the union of Churches of Rome and England, causing great sensation [as supra]; Advanced the national system of education; opposed the Veto in 1822; attended Commission as witness in 1824; twelves letters on the state of Ireland, 1825; letter to Lord Liverpool, prime minister, on Catholic claims; Life, Times, and Correspondence, by Fitzpatrick, admirable and discriminating, 2 vols. (Duffy & Sons, 1861).

The Cabinet selects his “Pastoral Address to the Ribbonmen”: ‘vile and wicked conspiracy lately detected and exposed in Dublin’; ‘bring disgrace upon our holy religion’; ‘impiety of the oath’; ‘dark and bloody conspiracy against all that is established by the will of God’; ‘precisely when our gracious sovereign visited us like a common father’; ‘better employed in devising means for bettering your condition by calling forth the infinite resources of your soil ... &c’; ‘our crimes and atrocities in the south’; ‘Shall Ireland, my dear but infatuated brethern, be always doomed to suffer, and to suffer through the blindness and malice of her children? Who in future will sympathise with her misfortunes ... vindicate her rights?’; ‘What were the motives ... your distress, your hatred to Orangemen, your love of religion, your faith in prophecies, your hope of seeing your country free and happy’; ‘how are your wants remedied and your distress removed by these associations?’; ‘is it by breaking of canals, by destroying cattle, by the burning of houses … establishing a new reign of terror that you are to obtain employment?’. He addresses under separate headings, YOUR HATRED TO ORANGEMEN (‘Love your enemies’); YOUR LOVE OF RELIGION (‘how frequently is the sacred name ... abused’); Your faith in prophecies (‘Men destitute of religion ...’); your object TO MAKE YOUR COUNTRY FREE AND HAPPY, ‘... The year 1798 is within the recollection of us all; at that fatal period Protestant and Catholic and Dissenter of every province and town, of every class and description, of every rank and station, combined to overthrow the government. You witness their failure, the scenes which then occurred, and many of you experienced such fatal consequences.’ Conclusion:

‘The body of a nation is like in some degree to your own. The different ranks ... are ordained by God, that the whole may be preserved entire. ... silly machinations ... Leave the legislature to pursue those means of improving your country ...

[I]n the name of the Almight father, and his son Jesus our Lod and Redeemer, through the gave of the Divine Spirit who proceeds from both. Amen. James Doyle, &c.’

Note that portions of this sermon are quoted in P. J. Kavanagh, Voices in Ireland (London: Murray 1994), p.152 - citing The Cabinet of Irish Literature, ed. Charles A Read.

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Justin McCarthy, gen. ed., Irish Literature (Washington: University of America 1904); called ‘the incomparable JKL’ by Matthew Arnold; saw Battle of New Ross from hiding at eleven; studied initially at Carnsore Point, Convent, under Rev. John Crane; Prof. Rhetoric and Theol, Carlow, 1813; advocated strongly the union of the Churches of Rome and England, instead of the Repeal then being agitated for, and caused great sensation; also advocated united system of education; his Carlow house was presented by a grateful people after his London evidence before a parl. comm. which included Wellington, who replied to enquirer, ‘No, Dr. Doyle is examining us.’ Buried Carlow Cathedral, which he built. Wrote preface to Butler’s Lives of the Saints. JMC elects extract entitled ‘The True Friends of the Poor and the Afflicted’, from Letters on the State of Ireland [as supra]. Bibl., The Life, Times, and Correspondence of Dr. Doyle, by W. J. Fitzpatrick [2 vols. (1861)].

[...] Over the signature of “J.K.L.” (James of Kildare and Leighlin) he wrote eloquent letters in defense of his Church, aided in the circulation of the Bible, and advocated strongly the union of the Churches oE Borne and England, in preference to the Repeal, which was then being agitated for. His letters on this subject caused a great sensation at the time, coming, as they did, from a Roman Catholic bishop. He was also a great advocate for a united system [918] of education very similar to the Irish national system of education of the present day. In 1822 he opposed the veto; and in 1824 his statesmanlike abilities and deep knowledge of Irish affaire as shown in his political writings was so widely recognized that he was summoned to attend before a committee of the Lords and Commons to be examined relative to the state of affairs in Ireland. At this time the Duke of Wellington was asked by some one if they were examining Doyle. He replied, “No, but Doyle is examining us.”
 His evidence, given during several days, was so much appreciated, and excited so much gratitude among his countrymen, that on his return a residence about a mile from Carlow was purchased and presented to him as a token of their esteem. In 1825 he wrote twelve letters on the state of Ireland, followed by a letter addressed to Lord Liverpool on Catholic claims. For years he continued the eloquent champion of these claims, and proved they might be defended both logically and reasonably, an entirely new revelation for the majority of Englishmen and Protestants.
 The consistent self-denial and anxious labour of mind and body told heavily upon him; and when he died, June 16, 1834, aged only forty-eight years, his appearance was more that of an old man than of one in the prime of life. His remains were interred in the central aisle of the Cathedral of Carlow, which he had built, and the funeral was attended by more than twenty thousand people. His last literary work was a preface to Butler’s Lives of the Saints.

See Irish Literature, gen. ed. Justin McCarthy (Washington 1904), pp.918-19 - available online.

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Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, p.199, biog. ftn., first member of hierarchy to support O’Connell’s Catholic Association; prolific writer as JKL; pamphlets, A Vindication of the Religious and Civil Principles of the Irish Catholics (1822); On the Origin, Nature, and Destination of Church Property (1831).

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R. F. Foster, Modern Ireland (London: Allen Lane 1988), p.297: b. New Ross, ed. Coimbra, interpreter for Spanish and acted as interpreter for the British in Peninsular War; ordained 1809, Prof. at Carlow Coll., 1813; Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, 1819; published Vindication of the Irish Catholics (1824) [sic]; Letters on the State of Ireland (1824-25) as ‘JKL’; gave evidence to commissions on Ireland, pastoral reformer; first influential prelate to join Catholic Association, ‘ecclesiastical statesman rather than political priest’.

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Booksellers
Hyland Books (Cat. 220) lists A Vindication of the Religious and Civil Principles of the Irish Catholics [2nd edn. Dublin 1823], 71pp. Cathach Books (1996/97) lists Letters on the State of Education in Ireland; on Bible Societies addressed to A Friend in England (Dublin: Coyne 1924), 60pp.

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Notes
Ex cathedra: The remodelling of Carlow cathedral, and in particular the repositioning of JKL’s throne in the place of the high altar so that the bishop can be ‘seen by the people’ is a source of controversy in 1995; originally built in 1833 to design of Cobden, English Protestant architect from Brighton; the diocese then so poor that only the shell and basic wooden furniture could be afforded, leaving decoration to later generations (The Irish Times article by Frank MacDonald, 29 July 1995.)

Variations (bibl.); A Vindication of the Religious Principles of the Irish Catholics (1822) [DIW & FDA]; A Vindication …of the Irish Catholics (1824) [DIB; Foster, Mod. Ireland, 1988].

JKL in fiction: Doyle is a character in John Henry Edge, An Irish Utopia (1906, 1910 and 1915) and aslo in in Peter Burrowes Kelly, The Manor of Glenmore (1839).

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