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Wesley and the Irish Question

 1760. Wednesday, January 16.--One came to me, as she said, with a message from the Lord, to tell me that I was laying up treasures on earth, taking my ease, and minding only my eating and drinking. I told her God knew me better; and if He had sent her, He would have sent her with a more proper message.

Monday, April 21.--In riding to Rosmead I read Sir John Davis's Historical Relations concerning Ireland. None who reads these can wonder that, fruitful as it is, it was always so thinly inhabited; for he makes it plain 1) that murder was never capital among the native Irish; the murderer paid only a small fine to the chief of his sept; [1] 2) when the English settled here, still the Irish had no benefit of the English laws. They could not so much as sue an Englishman. So the English beat, plundered, yea, murdered them, at pleasure. Hence 3) arose continual wars between them, for three hundred and fifty years together; and hereby both the English and Irish natives were kept few, as well as poor.

4) When they were multiplied during a peace of forty years, from 1600 to 1641, the general massacre, with the ensuing war, again thinned their numbers; not so few as a million of men, women, and children, being destroyed in four years' time. 5) Great numbers have ever since, year by year, left the land merely for want of employment. 6) The gentry are continually driving away hundreds, yea, thousands, of them that remain, by throwing such quantities of arable land into pasture, which leaves them neither business nor food. This it is that now dispeoples many parts of Ireland, of Connaught in particular, which, it is supposed, has scarcely half the inhabitants at this day which it had fourscore years ago.

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