Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER XXXVI.

LEGAL STATUS OF THE IRISH CATHOLICS UNDER THE TREATY.—HOW the

TREATY WAS OBSERVED. ENACTMENT OF THE PENAL CODE. Horrors ON

horrors.

To understand the great importance of the privileges secured by the Treaty of Limerick, we should remember that no oath but the oath of allegiance to William and Mary was exacted from Irish Roman Catholics submitting to their government, anxious to preserve their property or looking for office. This stipulation was violated by the subsequent introduction of the oaths of abjuration and supremacy, and the required subscription to declarations against the principal tenets of their faith. By the principal of the articles of Limerick the Roman Catholics of this kingdom were to enjoy such privileges in the exercise of their religion as were consistent with the laws of Ireland; or as they did enjoy in the reign of Charles II.1 Now how stood the laws of Ireland in that reign? The Irish statute book, to use the words of Lord Macaulay, "though afterwards polluted by intolerance as barbarous as that of the dark ages, then contained scarcely a single enactment, and not a single stringent enactment imposing any penalty on papists as such." In England the case was very different. There priests receiving neophytes into the Church of Rome were liable to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Jesuits held " their lives in their hands;" intending barristers or schoolmasters were obliged to take the oath of supremacy, which was required of every man taking office. In Ireland, on the contrary, the Jesuit was safe. The oath of supremacy was not required unless formally tendered to public functionaries, and therefore, did not exclude from office those whom the government wished to promote; the sacramental test and declarations against Transubstantiation were unknown; nor was either house of parliament closed against any religious sect. Lord Macaulay has thus concentrated, in a few sentences, the exact relative and comparative positions of Catholics in England and Ireland before and after the signing of the Treaty of Limerick. Like those Ultra-Protestants of the present time, who talk of getting the Catholic Emancipation Act repealed, there were not wanting persons in those days, who, repining at the working of any favourable articles with the Irish, openly declared, as the Protestant Jacobite, Dr. Leslie informs us, "that they would have them reversed in parliament;" as indeed they afterwards were in effect, though not all in form. As for William himself, though during the congress at Reswick he passed a new law for the rooting out of popery; it does not appear that he differed in opinion from the moderate Protestants, who, as Harris says, thought it for his majesty's honour and interest abroad and at home that the articles should be strictly observed. Unfortunately these moderate Protestants constituted the minority,3 as the army had been remodelled in such a way by the Duke of Tyrconnell that Protestant officers were generally displaced in favour of Catholics. The sufferings of James's military followers fell almost entirely on the members of that profession, while the private soldiers and others who came out of Limerick, and other of James's quarters, were shot down, and hung up in many cases without the ceremony of a trial, under the pretence of being Eapparees. In these barbarous outrages, which were repeated with singular coincidence, on perhaps a larger scale in 1798, the Anglo-Irish militia, or Protestant yeomanry, which acted in aid of the regular Williamite army, and numbered at least 25000 men, won for themselves an unenviable distinction. By the deportation of the Jacobite army, the Irish aristocracy if not destroyed, as an eminent modern Irish historian1 expresses it, was at least seriously diminished. That army was officered out of all the Irish septs, native and of English descent, and Lord Macaulay is totally in error when he described so many of these officers of plebeian origin: any one who runs his eye over the index of D Alton's King James's Army List, will see that we are borne out in this statement; for there is not one Catholic family in Ireland of eminence which is not represented among that brave, but unfortunate host, who, after fighting against vastly superior numbers, and the resources of England and Holland, besides Protestant Ireland, "buried the Synagogue with honour," at last, as one of their gallant countrymen, the chevalier Charles Wogan, expresses it, and when they could no longer defend their country, went into honourable exile rather than submit to the rule of one whom they believed to be a usurper. We cannot but deplore with Colonel O'Kelly, that there was no stipulation made in the treaty in favour of prisoners, or of the orphans of those who were slain in the service of their prince and the defence of their country; that those who left their native soil might never, without the special permission of the King, ever visit it again without being liable to be executed; and that those who made the unfortunate choice to remain in Ireland, had nothing in prospect but contempt, poverty, imprisonment, and every misery that a conquered nation might expect from the power and malice of implacable enemies. As a pendant to the horrors and agony which attended this war—a war of which an English authority, Hooke,2 sets down the cost incurred by England at £18,000,000 sterling, exclusive of arrears due to the army, it must not be omitted the pathetic scenes which took place on the separation of King James's soldiers from those whom they left behind. On this subject, besides the authority of Colonel O'Kelly and others, we have the reliable statements of contemporary Williamite publications,3 from which it appears to be a positive fact, that many of the women were dragged off and drowned, or had their fingers cut off, as we have already stated, in the sight of their husbands and relations, while trying to get on board with them, or holding on by the boats. This is stated to have occurred at Kerry, • but the same is told of the embarkation at Cork, where as well as at Limerick, similar scenes most probably occurred. But, there can be no doubt, that the Irish were in many cases4 attended by their wives and families; and the French admiral who arrived too late with the French supplies at Limerick, brought back—according to the contemporary historian Pere Daniel—all the French, 16,000 Irish soldiers, and several families.

1 History of England, Vol. U. pp. 127-8. London, 1849. * O'Callaghau'a Notei on the Macariic Kxcidium, p. 493.

Sarsfield, who embarked at Cork, had expressly stipulated "for ships for as many of the rest as were willing to go with him; "5 but that hundreds were left behind, under most afflicting circumstances, who were anxious to participate in this sad expatriation, appears evident both from the nature of the case and from written and oral tradition: of the wretched state of those who were left behind it is unnecessary to write, when we read of the pitiable condition of some of the scions of noble and even royal houses. Dr. Charles O'Connor gives one affecting instance in the case of his grand-uncle, Denis O'Connor of Belnagare, sq., who was obliged to plough his own fields after the defeat of the Irish armies, and who would often say to his sons, "Boys, you must not be impudent to the poor: I am the son of a gentleman, but you are the sons of a ploughman." Yet, this was the descendant of Turlogh More, the father of Roderick O'Connor, the last Milesian monarch of Ireland. Before finishing this pathetic page in the history of Limerick, as of Ireland, we cannot forbear quoting some of the affecting remarks of Mr. J. D'Alton, when writing 'of this "venerable hatchment of chivalrous cavaliers," who gathered their septs, their sons, and their soldiers, to contend with powers of such enormous superiority. He says, "the details of their regiments wear a melancholy interest; they are as ship lists of noble passengers and crews that have long since perished in the stormy waters; nor did the calamities of their race close with their immolation. Forfeitures, expatriations, religious persecutions rapidly ensued, and have at this day scarcely left a trace of the ancient aristocracy of Ireland."

1 John D'Alton, Esq., see his King James's Army List.

* Son of the Roman historian. Storey confesses his inability to state the cost.

* See an extract from the Dublin Intelligence, a Williamite newspapers in Croker's Notes on ©"Kelly's work, or in the Notes and Illustrations already quoted.

* See the London Gazette, Nos. 2722 and 2727.

4 The Breda frigate blew up in Cork Harbour, and most of the Irish troops on boardperished. 1 Army List * Thorpe's Catalogue of the Southwell M.S.

Those who could fly out of the country did so even before the balance inclined in favour of William's arms, Passes were giving to some—among the passes we find one mentioned in the Southwell MSS., "for lady Mary Butler, abbess of a nunnery in Dublin, with the nuns to go to Flanders, July 23,1690." This pass was given in the autograph of Sir Robert Southwell.3 Protections were also given—" No officers or soldiers of our army to be henceforward quartered upon John Newport, of Carrick."3 Estates were parcelled out to families—estates taken by the strong arm from the ancient possessors—as "of Sir John Bellew, Lord Baron of Duleeck, and Dudley Bagnall, of Dunleckney, county of Catherlogh, in actual and open rebellion against us, to Sir John Trevor, Thomas Pelham, and Henry O Bichard Bellew, commonly called Lord Bellew, was also attainted, but was pardoned April 1st, 1696. With all these rigors and cruelties, the Catholics were not put down in Dublin, or elsewhere, no more than they were in Limerick up to the horrible laws that followed the Treaty. William was every day raising complaints of the outrages, insolence, and daring of the rebelly papists; and Sir Robert Southwell, on these complaints, writing to Colonel Floyd, governor of Dublin, states, "His Majesty being informed that several papists do walk the streets of Dublin with their arms, and some of them being of very ill— behavour towards the Protestants while it was in their power; His Majesty's pleasure is that you disarm all that are papists in that place, and that you make an example of half a dozen of the most insolent by clapping them up, according as you shall be informed of the most dangerous."5 There was no need of warrant, of bail, of the Habeas Corpus, of constitutional observance. It was sufficient to be a papist, of high or low degree, to constitute the professor of the old faith, a "rebelly" monster, to have him thrown into some noisome dungeon;1 while protection was given to the Newports, the Vanhomrighs, the Pelhams, the Trevors, the Guys of the day, the unfortunate natives as well as the descendants of the Anglo-Norman invaders, because they were Catholics, were hunted like wild beasts, or given a permissive existence— like that granted on the humble petition " of Lord George Howard, of Norfolk, then at Clonmel, to live in Dublin, he having offered security for his peaceable demeanour there."8 During the heat and terror of the war several distinguished natives of Ireland, as well of the Royalist s of the Williamite party,-proceeded to England, where they remained until "peace" was proclaimed. A long and rather interesting letter was written to Sir Robert Southwell, and signed by several of those who had gone to reside in Bristol —it is dated December 26, 1691, after the reduction of Limerick, when the writers were about to return to Ireland, "but were prevented by the news that the army of Ireland was about to be withdrawn for England, and the quiet of the country effected by native force"' the impracticability of which, in their estimation, the letter enters into at much length. The writers state that they are Irish merchants; but they afford an extraordinary idea of their feelings and prejudices, by the fact that they feared to return to their country unless they came under "the protection" of Orange bayonets; and that they speedily succeeded to the fullest extent of their desires there can be no question. It was necessary not only to get up but to keep up alarms at all hazards, and in the teeth of the greatest improbabilities. While the House of Commons was granting enormous sums of money to greedy jobbers "to discharge debts and arrears on the civil list, confirming outlawries and attainders, recommending persons to offices in Ireland," "who merited the notice of the King for their zeal and service in the Protestant cause"— throwing sops to noisy placemen—and keeping up, for a purpose, the fear of a French invasion, rumours of conspiracies against William's life were quite general. In a letter of September 9th, 1697, Narcissus Marsh, the Anglican Bishop of Dublin, one of the Lords Justices of Ireland, writes :—that one Madden, an ex-officer in James's army, had discovered a plot of Toole and Bromfield—and Toole's purpose, he says, was to buy horses and shoot the King in his coach I* This was a mere delusion.

3 This John Newport was one of William's followers; hewas, we believe, in the woollen manufacture, and ancestor of the eminent Sir John Newport, the last Chancellor of the Irish Exchequer and Member of the city of Waterford in the Imperial Parliament.

« Thorpe's Catalogue of the Southwell MSS. 'Ibid.

Wherever Irish Catholics could obtain employment abroad they sought it, as the tyranny under which they groaned at home was intolerable. Colonel Maurice Hussey, a native Irishman, writes thus to Sir Robert Southwell on the 7th of June, 1703—" he had been seized with goute thoso five days past, and confined to his bed." "Here," he goes on to say, "was lately a foolish report that spread all over our mountains, that several Irish regiments were to be immediately raised for the Queen's service to go into Portugal, and that I was to have one; upon this rumour all the Milesian Princes of these parts flocked to my house to offer their service to go along with me to any part of the world, and they would scarcely believe but that I had my commission in my pocket, and I could not but take their offers and readiness for the Queen's service kindly, and made them all as welcome as my poor house could afford, and that I phancie has brought this fitt upon me. MacCartie More, O'Sullivan More, O'Dunuhu More, McGillicuddy, M'Finin, CLeary, and a long etcetera of the best gentlemen of the Irish of these parts, are in a manner mad to be employed in her Majesty's service abroad, andswear I must go at the head of 'em whether I will or no."6 The fiery old colonel was anxious to quit a land in which it was impossible for the native Irish longer to live, if they not only did not surrender faith and honor, but become the instruments of a faction who had become drunk with excitement, after having violated every article of the treaty of Limerick.

'"Queen Anne's Prison" in Pump Lane, Limerick, is said to have been one of these dungeons. ■ Thorpe's Catalogue of the Southwell MSS. * Ibid, p. 235. « Ibid. » Ibid.

In a word, the ink was scarcely dry on the treaty, when the triumphant faction made no scruple of their determination to wreak vengeance on the now prostrate Catholics of Ireland with more than early bitterness and cruelty. A medal was struck in which the insolence of the chance victor was clearly manifested. The test oath was forced by Act of Parliament to be taken by mayors and sheriffs in corporate towns and cities. In Limerick, John Foord was the first mayor who took this abominable oath; he was a merchant of no great wealth or position; but he was obsequiously imitated by William Davis and Abraham Bowman, the sheriffs. This was in 1692, the year after the treaty. An act similar in terms and in effect was passed in the 14th of Charles II. for the same alleged reason, viz. that, according to Harris, "it was necessary and beneficialj" but in Charles's time it could not be carried into effect—it became wholly inoperative. The effect of this nefarious enactment changed, at once, the position of the entire Catholic body. In Limerick, even in dark and evil days, the Catholics made a noble stand against the advances of bigotry. The guilds of trade, which were recognised by the charter of Edward I. and which had received their incorporation from the municipal body, had been hitherto for several years composed, in a great measure, of Catholic artizans; these guilds now became dens of Orange rancour. An apprentice to the woollen, or almost any other manufacture, should be a Protestant. No Catholic child was admitted to indentureship. Under the pretext of retaliation, the worst deeds were perpetrated. Because, it was said, King James had disarmed certain ultra Protestants, William disarmed Catholics wholesale. Because some injustice was perpetrated on one side, the other should rob, and banish, and plunder with impunity I We draw a veil over many of the atrocious and terrible acts of these most awful times. The Catholics were disarmed wholesale. The gentlemen appointed to give licenses for carrying arms in the city and county of Limerick were of the true blue stamp and complexion: they were men who, a few years before, had obtained grants of forfeited, or rather of plundered lands from " Irish Papists." The following are their names:—Sir Simon Eaton, Bart., Sir William King, Knt., the Mayor of Limerick; Robert Taylor, Richard Maguire, Arthur Ormsby, George Evans, Sen., Ralph Wilson, Simon Purdon, Joseph Stepney, Edmond Pery, William Cox, John Dickson, Humphrey Hartwell, George Evans, Jun.. Hugh Massy, Thomas Holmes, Henry Wcstcnra, John Otway, David Wilson, and Charles Oliver, Esqrs. They gave arms, but only to their own creatures, slaves or dependents.

It was enacted that any person maintaining the spiritual authority of the Pope in the realm was for the first offence to forfeit all his goods and chattels, real and personal; and if these were not worth £20, over and above the forfeitures, to suffer one year's imprisonment; on the second offence, a premunire was incurred; on the third, high treason! Another Act was passed for the uniformity of common prayer, by which all persons depraving the Established form, and procuring the use of any other, should forfeit for the first offence 100 marks; for the second, 400; for the third, all their goods and chattels, and suffer imprisonment for life 11 Persons absenting themselves from church were fined twelve pence for every " offence." Another Act was passed, by which the Judges might appoint the next Protestant

« PreviousContinue »