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the army, and the apostacy of the clergy. And that, however it might seem a paradox, it was nevertheless true, that there had been more converts to .popery in England also, and from the same causes, within the four years above-mentioned, than in four years before that period.” That is to say, more in the four years after King James's abdication, when he could make use of neither force nor allurements to gain converts to his religion, than in all the time that he had it so amply in his power, to employ both these ineans of conversion for that purpose.
Bilhop Burnet has accounted for this sudden growth of irreligion and immorality, at that juncture, in the fame manner. “ A disbelief,” says he, “ of revealed religion, a profane mockery of the christian faith, and the mysteries of it, became scandalous and avowed; and it must be confessed, that the behaviour of many clergymen gave atheists no small advantage. They had taken the oaths to, and read the prayers for the present government; they observed the orders for public falts and thanksgivings; and yet they shewed in many places, their averfion to our establishment too visibly. This made many conclude that the clergy were a sort of men, that would fwear and pray, even against their consciences rather than lose their benefices; and by consequence, that they were governed by interest, not by principle. Upon the whole matter, the nation was falling into a general corruption, both as to morals and principles ; and that was so much spread among all forts of people, that it gave us great apprehensions of heavy judgments from Heaven.”
3 Hift. of his own Times, vol. ii.
< A late ingenious writer obferves, “ that the number of Roman catholics did not increase when they had the particular favour of the court. From the diffolution of the Oxford parliament to the end of the reign of James II, none embraced their doctrine but a very few persons, who were called court catholics, and they after the revolution all returned to the profession of the protestant religion, except Mr. Dryden (the great poet).” Confideration on the Penal Laws against Roman Catholics, p. 66.
Queen Mary, in a letter to King William, July 1690, has these remarkable words, “ I must put you in mind of one thing, believing it now the season (the king was then in Ireland), which is, that you would take care of the church in Ireland. Every body agrees, that it is the worst in Christendom.” 4
The perplexity of the established clergy of Ireland after
the coronation of King William.
HE strange versatility, and trimming behaviour of the Irish established clergy on this occasion, is thus freely described by Mr. Lefley.' “ Before the association in the north, they prayed for King James ; in the beginning of March following, they proclaimed the Prince of Orange king, and prayed for him. On the 14th of that month, King James's army broke their forces at Dromore, in the north of Ireland ; then they prayed again for King James, that God might strengthen him to vanquish and overcome all his enemies; in August following, Schomberg came over with an English army; then, as far as his quarters reached, they returned to pray the same prayer for King William, the rest of the protestants still praying for victory to King James. And yet they say, that, all that while, they all meant the same thing ; four times in one year, praying backward and forward, point blank contradictory to one another. The bishop of Meath in his speech at the head and in name of the protestant clergy of Dublin, took pains to clear himself and them to king William, from having been so much as trimmers to king James, while he was among them; that is, they were his inve. terate enemies. Yet his lordship was one of the lords spiritual mentioned in the address of the parliament of Ireland to that king, on the roth of May, 1689; in
4 Dalrymp. Mem. vol. iii. p. 154.
'* Id. ib. p. 103 • Answ. to King, p. 108.
which they abhor the unnatural usurpation of the Prince of Orange, and the treason of those who joined with him in England and Ireland ; and profess to king James with their tongues and hearts, that they will ever assert his rights to his crown, with their lives and fortunes, against the said usurper and his adherents, and all other rebels and traitors whatsoever." 3
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3 Answ. to King, p. 103.
a That William's motives for invading England, were very different from what they are commonly thought to have been, viz. a glorious heroic zeal to deliver these kingdoms from popery and flavery, will appear from the following passage.
In the treaty of peace at Ryswick, “ as William trusted not his three plenipotentiaries at the Hague with his agreement with France, mankind justly concluded, that a secret of the last importance had been for some time depending between the two kings (Lewis XIV. and him), time has at length unravelled the mystery. Lewis unwilling to defert James, proposed that the Prince of Wales should succeed to the crown of England, after the death of William: the king with little hesitation agreed to the request. He even folemnly engaged to procure the repeal of the act of settlement, and to declare by another, the Prince of Wales his successor to the throne. The fifty thousand pounds a year settled as a jointure on King James's Queen, was agreed to be paid, though the money was afterwards retained upon various pretences. Those (adds my author) who afcribe all the actions of William to public fpirit, will find fome difficulty in reconciling this transaction to their elevated opinion of his character. In one concession to France, he yielded all his profeflions to England ; and by an act of indiscretion, or through indifference, deserted the principles to which he owed the throne. The supposed spuriousness of the Prince of Wales's birth, had been only held forth to amuse the vulgar, and even these would be convinced by the public acknowledgment intended to be made by the very person whose interest was most concerned in the support of that idle tale.” Macphers. Hift. of Great Britain, vol. ii. p. 122-3-4.
The established clergy of Ireland laboured under a par.
ticular difficulty on this occasion.
AFTER King James's abdication, the parliament of England abolished the declaration, viz.' “ that it was not lawful upon any pretence whatsoever, to take up arms against the king." “But this, by some neglect, was still left upon the Irish protestant clergy, under the penalty of forfeiting their livings, and as many of them as came into livings, after the revolution (among whom Dr. King was one), read the said declaration publicly in time of divine service, and were to continue fo to do until some parliament took it away. Notwithstanding which, they preached against it, disputed against it, and instructed their congregations against it. And yet, to save their livings, they continued still to subscribe this hated declaration before their ordinaries; and took certificates under their hands and feals, that they had subscribed it; and openly and publicly read the same, on the Lord's day, in their parish-churches, in the presence of the congregation there assembled. They read it in the desk, and preached against it in the pulpit; and when they came out of the church railed, at the parliament that imposed it, and wondered and cursed their hard fate, that this declaration was not taken out of their way in Ireland as it was in England, and wished it was done. In the mean time they would lose nothing by it, they could swallow.”
Nor was their embarrassment much less, upon taking the new oaths that were afterwards framed.? « There never was, proceeds Mr. Lesley, fo sudden, fo shameful a turn of men professing religion; and their manner of doing it so impolitic as to make it evident; that
they took the oaths, at least, with a doubting and scrupulous conscience. For they did not take them freely, but haggled, and kept off, some to the last day, roaring against them all the while; and then coming about, all at once, with new-coined distinctions and declarations, point-blank contrary to the declared sense of the imposers ; they differed among themselvcs; every one had a salvo for his own conscience; some pretended they kept passive obedience still, others that they were never for it. It was a severe jest that the common people had got up against the clergy, that there was but one thing formerly that the parliament could not do, that is, to make a man a woman; but that then, there was another, that is, to make an oath the clergy would not take.” 'b
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· State of the Protestants, &c. p. 149.
3 Id. ib.
2 The Irish Roman catholics, “ made no scruple to take the oath of allegiance to King William and Queen Mary, which was agreed to in the articles of Limerick ; and it was generally taken by them all over the kingdom, by the direction of their clergy.” Lesley's Answ. p. 125. “ The English Roman catholics, in their chapels at London, prayed publicly at the fame time, for King William and Queen Mary.” Lesley, ib. p. 126.
b In the Commons Journal, ann. 1695, I find the following paffage : “ Mr. Weaver farther reported, that it is the opinion of this committee, that to an act in England of the 31st of Charles II. an act for the better securing the liberty of the subject, there shall be added the following proviso, viz. provided that no person or persons shall have the benefit of this act, unless he or they take the oaths, and subscribe the declaration made in England for this kingdom, intitled an act for abrogating the oath of supremacy in Ireland, and appointing other oaths, &c. The question being put that this house do agree with the committee in this resolution, it passed in the negative." Vol. ii. f. 668.