Page images

popish judges) did, at the assizes of that county, enlarge much on the unconscionableness of indicting men upon words spoken so many years before ; that he told the jury, that most of those then charged before him in court, could give a good account of themselves, and were well known in the countries where they lived, and that thereupon the juries, the major part of whom were Irish, acquitted them;" that Mr. justice Nugent (another popish judge) “ made the same declaration at Drogheda, where several persons were tried for words, upon bills found at the former assizes; and that they were all acquitted, except one man, who was found guilty and fined five pounds.'

But who would suspect this impartial writer to have known, while he was committing these falsehoods to the press, that Lord Clarendon had, by king James's express command, published a proclamation, so early as July 1686, (the popish judges were made only in April preceding,)." forbidding all prosecutions of that kind ; and ordering, that no person should be accountable for any words spoken against his majesty, at any time before his accession;" which proclamation his excellency immediately sent off to the judges, then on their circuits. Yet these known facts, Dr. King has disingenuously suppressed; for no body, I think, will have the hardiness to pretend, that he, who was one of his lordship's chaplains, and a busy enquirer into all the transactions of that time, could possibly be ignorant of a matter so notorious as this proclamation must have then been in every part of Ireland.


s State Lett. Dub. ed. vol. i. p. 326.

• Id. ib. p. 324. 7 Id. ib.


162. good) for mayors, and sheriffs, and for common-council-men : in such cases I advise with those who are best acquainted in these towns ; particularly with justice Daly, and others of the king's council of that persuasion; and the lists of names those men give me, are always equal, half English half Irish ; which, they say, is the best way to unite, and make them live friendly together.” State Lett. vol. ii. p. 319.

[blocks in formation]

The execution of Captain Ashton. THE hanging of one Captain Ashton for murder, is another of Ďr. King's instances of the cruelty and injustice of these popish judges and juries. “ The papists, says he,' “ might kill whom they pleased, without fear of the law, because they had popish judges and juries on their side; but if any killed or hurt them, they were sure to fuffer.” And then he complains, that Alhton was hanged for killing a papist; who, he fays, 66 abused his wife in the street." What the nature of the abuse was, or whether it was by words or actions, he does not inform us ; from whence we may probably conclude, that it was not of a very heinous nature; and that the doctor would insinuate, that the killing of a papist, though but upon a slight provocation, ought not to be punished, as a capital offence.


· State of the Protest. p. 47.

There is a passage in Lord Clarendon's letters, which demonstrates a very different disposition in these popish judges towards protestants, from what Dr. King has imputed to them. “ Upon a full hearing,” says his lordihip, at the council. board, there was a complaint of the commissioners of the revenue proved against a justice of peace, who had discountenanced a collector of the excise in the execution of his office. When the board came to deliberate what to do, this," adds his lordship, « is remarkable, that several of our new Roman catholic counsellors, though the justice was an Englishman, and a protestant, were for putting off the business, and particularly the three new (popish) judges said the gentleman would be more careful for the future.” State Lett, vol. i. p. 292. His excellency also takes notice of the fingular modesty of these popish judges, when they were made privy counsellors ; and says, “ they were almost out of countenance on that occasion; that they thought it would bring envy upon them, when it was not needful ; they being, every way, as well qualified to do the king all possible fervice, without the burden of that honour." Ib. 231.


But we find that Lord Clarendon, in whose time it happened, thought very differently of this affair. For his lordship informs us, that at that gentleman's trial,

care was taken to have a good jury; but that they brought him in guilty ; that great intercession was made with himself in his behalf; but that, in good earnest, the fact was so horrid, and so fully proved, and the captain had so little to say for himfelf, that he did not think him a fit object of the king's mercy." His lordship adds, “ that the pannel was made up of the best men in the city; that is,” says he, “ men of the best reputation and credit, without regard to religion ; and that there were as many of the one persuasion as of the other returned; that the captain excepted against as many of the jury as the law allowed him, who were all Roman catholics; but that the rest, who were very honest men, regarded nothing but the evidence and their oaths."

Even Chief Justice Nugent, a papist, and one of the judges before whom this unhappy man was tried, and to whom Dr. King has been pleased to give a most profligate character, “had been with his excellency, and desired he might intercede with his majesty, that he would be pleased to bestow the captain's estate upon

his wife and children.” Which, for any thing I have found to the contrary appears to have been done.

[blocks in formation]

The affair of the quo-warrantos against the corporations

not truly stated by Doctor King. BUT

UT these popish judges, not content with taking away the lives and properties of protestant individuals, conspired, it seems, with the popish lawyers, to destroy whole corporate bodies, by issuing quo-warrantos against their chapters ; although (if we believe Dr.


State Lett. p. 196.

3 Ib.

* Id. ib. p. 204


King)' " there, was not one of these corporations found to have forfeited, by a legal trial; fo that all the corporations in the kingdom were dissolved without any reason, or pretence of abuse of privilege."

“ But ? will any man believe, that lawyers (and some of them, this author acknowledges, understood their profession) would bring a quo-warranto against a charter, and not so much as pretend any abuse, or


· State of the Proteft. p. 68.

2 Lesley's Anfw. Nangle (attorney general) arrived to a good perfection in the study of the law, and was employed by many

protestants." King's State of the Protestants, &c. p. 55. “Mr. Stephen Rice was (to give him his due) a man of the best sense among them (the popish lawyers), and well enough versed in the law." Ib. p. 54, # It was before him (when chief baron of the Exchequer) all the charters in the kingdom were damned.” Id. ib. Mr. Daly (afterwards judge) though a Roman catholic, yet understood the common law well, and behaved himself impartially." Ib. p. 55.

b« The several corporations in Ireland having forfeited their charters by miscarriages, misdemeanors, and other offences during the rebellion in 1641, and since, Charles II. had empowered his chief governor of that kingdom to grant new charters to such of these corporations as he should think fit; and for such of them as should not make application for renewing their charters, to iffue quo-warrantos against them for avoiding the same. And King James being informed that very few had made such application, directed his deputy Tyrconnel to cause these quo-warrantos to be issued, by which their former charters were made void, and new ones given them with additional franchises." See Harris's Life of King William. It appears from Lord Clarendon, " that King James's intention in all this was nothing more than that religion should be no hindrance to the natives from enjoying the benefit of being freemen, and holding offices, as the rest of his subjects did.” State Lett. vol. ii. p. 8.

But Dr. King was of a different opinion, and would have that benefit monopolized in the hands of protestants alone, excluding the papists from freedom, and votes in the corporations.” State of the Protest. p. 66.

c“ Upon much less provocation, Capel Earl of Essex, lord lieutenant of Ireland, (that celebrated champion for liberty, and who was said to have fallen a martyr to it) thought the bringing: of quo-warrantos against the charter of Dublin necessary. 'That chief governor, in a letter to Secretary Coventry, in 1674-5, on occasion of a trifling dispute between the aldermen and com



forfeiture? Of Mr. Nangle, the then attorney general, who was chiefly employed in that business, Lord Clarendon makes very honourable mention in several of his letters, and in one of them mentions him, " as a man of great knowledge, very able in his profession, and of the best reputation for learning, as well as honesty, amongst that people.”

But Dr. King's precipitate passion, or rather prejudice, against these popish judges and lawyers, seems to have so far transported him, that he has entirely mistaken, or misrepresented, this transaction.

60 Lord Tyrconnel,” + he tells us, “ knowing that the protestants would not give up their charters, did endeavour to prevail with them, to adinit papists to freedom and offices in their corporations, that, by their means, he might have their charters surrendered; but,” adds he, “the resolution of the lord mayor of Dublin spoiled that design, and forced the king to bring quo-warrantos against them.” Harris, in his life of


3 Vol. i. p. 72. vol. ii. p. 373.

4 State of the Protest. p. 67.

mons of that city, says, “ in my own thoughts, I am of opinion, and have been long so, that nothing will reduce this city to a due composure, unless it be the avoiding their charter by quowarranto, and granting them a new one ; for the body of the commons are so numerous, and most of them being extreme poor men, are continually mutinous and factious; whereas, if they had a new charter, and the number reduced to fewer, and those named out of the most substantial chief trading men of the city, whose interest it is to be quiet, I am confident, it would be the only way to bring them into order and peace.” Effex’s Letters, p. 114.

. And in another letter of May 30th, 1686, he says, " in the list of the persons added to the privy council

, I find Mr. Richard Nangle ; he is a very learned and an honest man.” State Lett.

P. 226.

. Dr. King, was so ridiculously prejudiced against such natives of Ireland, as were afterwards appointed to city-offices under Tyrconnels government, that'not content to represent them as poor and unworthy, (the contrary of which can be proved) he tells us, " their

very names spoke barbarities.” State of the Protestants, p. 69. So much it seems were the doctor's delicate ears offended with the harsh found of Irish surnames.

« PreviousContinue »