Clongowes, which now seems so comfortably established, could easily have been still-born. In February 1814 Fr Peter Kenney interviewed the Chief Secretary for Ireland, Sir Robert Peel, to defend his purchase of Castle Browne, and his intention” to establish a lay school for education of Protestants as well as Catholics”. Peel asked: “Are you not aware that we can confiscate that property?” Kenney replied: ” To a mercantile nation like England, a character of honesty and good faith are as necessary as they are to an individual trader. Yes, the government has the power to confiscate, but I do not believe you would effect such a violation of the rights of property. You remember Lord Chatham’s remark: If the devil had money in English funds, it should be safe for him.” So Kenney won that round in the long, intense struggle to keep rapacious hands off the infant school.