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BOOK they dare not propose anything for fear of being
fallen upon in Parliament. But if the Ministry will compute what they think it reasonable to allow Mr. Wood; and if, after he has resigned his patent, an order is sent from his majesty to pay some one in trust for Mr. Wood, without mentioning his name, such a sum for such a term of years as they shall judge equivalent, they will be able to provide that payment in Parliament.'
The Primate had expressed fully what Lord Carteret had been able only to hint at. After taking time to consider, the Government consented to terms, which, though unwelcome, were less severe than they might have expected. The method, your Grace proposes,' Newcastle replied to Boulter, 'seems reasonable, and may be a handle for something to be done when we come to a resolution.' Before the autumn session commenced the resolution had been arrived at, and the Viceroy was able to meet Parliament with an assurance that the patent had been cancelled. The private arrangement was carried out by which Mr. Wood was indemnified for his losses and for his mortification, and both Houses made gracious acknowledg. ments in the answer to the address. In the Commons there was no difference of opinion. With apparent heartiness they thanked the King for his great goodness and condescension. In the Upper House the Archbishops of Dublin and Tuam, Lord Midleton, and other Peers moved, and carried on a division, that to the words "goodness and condescension should be added * great wisdom.' The sarcasm, a last arrow probably from the quiver of the Dean of St. Patrick's, would 1«The Primate to the Duke of Newcastle, January 19, 1725 (abridged).'
MSS. Record Office.
have turned the compliment into an insult. The Dean was held to have cleared his account with Walpole sufficiently without impertinence to the King. Before the amended answer was presented the Primate again interposed. Archbishop King and Lord Midleton struggled hard for the great wisdom, but calmer counsels prevailed. The words were lost on a second division by a majority of twenty-one to twelve, and the scandal of the Duchess of Kendal's halfpence was at an end.?
1 Walpole had interposed in the not believe him to be a Christian. English House of Commons to 2 « The Primate to the Duke of prevent Swift from being made a Newcastle, September 21 and 23.' bishop, and had implied that he did MSS. Record Office.
In the midst of the heat and dust of the Wood hurricane, at a moment when the Duke of Grafton reported himself unable to stem a torrent which was swollen by the fusion of all the factions in Ireland; when the sacramental test could not be repealed, because the Catholics had so many friends in the House of Commons, and the dislike of Dissenters was stronger than the dread of Popery, the heads of a bill, if we are to believe the standard Irish historian, were introduced, carried, presented by the Speaker to the Lord Lieutenant in the name of the entire representative assembly, and by the Lord Lieutenant earnestly recommended to the Home Government, of so extraordinary a nature that, were the story true in the form in which it has come down to us, the attempt by an Englishman to understand the workings of Irish factions might well be abandoned as hopeless.
'In the year 1723,' says Plowden, the heads of a bill were prepared for the strengthening the Protestants with all the invective acrimony (sic) which infuriated fanaticism could devise. One blushes for the humanity of an Irish House of Commons, which, in satiating its lust for persecution, adopted unanimously a clause for castrating every Catholic clergyman that should be found in the realm. The bill, thus surcharged with this Gothic barbarism, was presented on the 15th of November to the Lord Lieutenant by the Commons at the Castle, and they most earnestly requested his Grace to recommend the same in
the most effectual manner to his majesty,' humbly CHAP. hoping from his majesty's goodness, and his Grace's zeal for his service and the Protestant interest, that 1723 the same might be obtained to pass into a law. It was transmitted to England, and for the honour of humanity there suppressed with becoming indignation.'
A statement, so positively made, has passed into the region of acknowledged certainties. It has been beaten into the metal of the historical thoroughfare, and being unquestioned has been moralized over by repentant liberal politicians as illustrating the baneful fruits of Protestant ascendancy. The Catholics, unlike the Dissenters, had a legally recognized exist
Such of their clergy as were registered, and had abjured the Pretender, had as much right to officiate in their chapels as the Lord Lieutenant's chaplain in the chapel in Dublin Castle. The registered Priests were described by Swift as Whigs, and supporters of the Hanoverian Government; and even against those who properly fell within their provisions, the existing penal laws were rarely or never put in force. Yet it has been believed without difficulty, and without enquiry, that suddenly, and without special provocation of any kind, a House of Commons more than usually well inclined to the Catholics, turned thus furiously upon all classes of their clergy, legal or illegal, and expected that England would reverse her policy and agree to a measure for the violent and immediate extinction of the Catholic religion in Ireland. It was observed in the Commons' Journals, that a bill of some kind on the subject was pre
1 The italics are Plowden's.
sented to the Viceroy, in the year which Plowden
mentions, that it was sent to England, and that it was 1723
not returned. The traditionary account of its character was accepted as needing no investigation. The indignation of England was said to have been aroused, for it was the policy of the Irish Catholics to flatter England, as their defender against the domestic Protestant tyrants. Yet, if indignation was felt, it was unexpressed, for the Duke of Grafton was unaware of its existence. He did not even understand that the bill was rejected. He understood merely that it was postponed, and so little conscious was he that the heads contained anything unusual, that he enquired the reason why it had been laid aside, that he might explain what would be otherwise unintelligible.
In widely credited historical fictions there is usually some chrysalis of fact which tradition has developed. In the present instance the imaginative part can be separated from the real with satisfactory completeness. Corresponding to the two classes of priests, the registered and the unregistered, there were, in the last century as in the present, two kinds of Irish Catholic policy. There were the quiet and moderate Catholics, who had had enough of rebellion and conspiracy; who wished only to live at peace on the remnant of their fortunes, and were contentedly loyal to a government which left them practically unmolested. There were the factions who fed continually on the recollection of their wrongs, ' and lived in constant hope of aid from the Catholic powers, to root out the
1. By the last accounts from Eng- reasons which induced you to lay land I find the Popery Bill is post
it aside, that I may explain, for poned, which the gentlemen of this the juncture is critical.?— Duke of country having had very much at
Grafton to Lord Carteret, January heart, I should be glad to learn the 22, 1724.' MSS. Record Office.