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Penal laws to prevent the further growth of popery.
It is worthy of particular notice, that about the time of paffing this first act to prevent the further growth of popery, several members of the house of commons resigned their seats, desiring that writs might be issued to chuse other members in their room. And these resignations became then so frequent, that the house found it necessary to resolve,' " that the excusing of members, at their own request, from the service of the house, and thereupon issuing out new writs to elect other members to serve in their places, was of dangerous consequence, and tended to the subversion of the constitution of parliament." But the humour of resigning still continuing, it was afterwards “unanimoully resolved, that it might be made the standing order of the house, that no new writs for electing members of parliament, in the place of members excusing themselves from the service of the house, do issue, at the desire of such members, notwithstanding any former precedents to the contrary.” So many, and such unusual resignations, evidently shew, that several members, even of that parliament, were alhamed of their proceedings, and unwilling to be thought to have been any way concerned in them.
In 1703, when the Irish commons, in a body,“ prefented to the Duke of Ormond, then lord lieutenant of Ireland, the first bill to prevent the further growth
a " The commons (says Burnet) offered this bill to the Duke of Ormond, pressing him with more than usual vehemence, to intercede so effectually, that it might be returned back under the great seal of England. It came over warmly recommended by the Duke of Ormond, &c.”. Hift. of his own Times, vol. ii. f. 214.
of popery, to be transmitted into England, his grace was pleased to give them his promise, which, indeed, he punctually performed, “ that he would recommend it in the most effectual manner, and do every thing in his power to prevent the growth of popery."
There is no room to doubt of the Duke of Ormond's having always professed himself a zealous and steadfast protestant. But what evidently shews, that his civil orthodoxy was not, therefore, the more to be relied upon, is, that he afterwards deserted his protes, tant king, and adhered to a popish pretender to his throne. For which the Irish commons unanimously voted him “ guilty of high treason;t his estate to be vested in the crown ; and that a reward of ten thousand pounds should be offered for apprehending him, in case he landed in any part of Ireland.” So that he who, in 1704, had been addressed by them with particular marks of love and veneration, on account of his having procured this barrier to the protestant religion, as that law was then, and has been fince called ; became afterwards, in 1915, the public object of their aversion and contempt. For in their address to the king, on occasion of the rebellion which had then broke out in Scotland, they told his majesty, it was with the utmost concern, they found that this country gave birth to James Butler, late Duke of Ormond; a person who, in despite of his allegiance, and the obligations of repeated oaths, has been one of the chief authors and fomenters of that wicked and unnatural rebellion."
But, indeed, what better could these commons have expected from a person, “ who, regardless of public faith, and the articles of the capitulation of Limerick, had procured to be enacted, a penal statute, through which there runs such a vein of ingenious cruelty, that it seems to be dictated rather by some prætor of Dioclefian, than by a British or Irish nobleman?” It was a singular circumstance in this duke's fortune, that al
* Com. Journ. vol. i. f. 201.' 4 Id. vol. iv. f. 64.
s Id. ib. f. 21. 6 Confid. Pen. Laws.
though in his expedition on the coast of Spain, his foldiers committed many outrages, and profanations of what was held sacred by the inhabitants ; yet after the bill of attainder had passed against him, he fled for protection to that country, where he had connived at the facrilegious excesses of his armıy; and afterwards retired to Avignon, a territory belonging to the first prelate of that church, which he had treated with fo. much cruelty.
Upon the return of this bill to prevent the further growth of popery from England, “ Nicholas Lord Kingsland, Colonel John Brown, Colonel Burke, Colonel Robert Nugent, Major Allen, Captain Arthur French, with other Roman catholics of Ireland, and persons comprized in the articles of Limerick and Galway, petitioned to be heard by counsel against it ; which was granted.”.
This rețurned bill had a clause inserted in England, which gave great offence to the whole body of diffenters in Ireland ; many of whom, then in the house of commons, were persons of considerable power and influence. For this reason it was expected, that it would have been totally laid aside; and the rather, because the dissenters had lately received no small disguit by a resolution of a committee in October 1703, " that the pension of one thoufand two hundred pounds
6 Com. Jour. vol. iii. f. 173
7 Id. vol. ii. f. 76.
B“ A clause was added (in England), which they (Roman catholics) hoped would hinder its being accepted in Ireland. That matter was carried on so secretly, that it was known to none but those who were at the council, till the news of it came from Ireland, upon its being fent thither. The clause was, to this purpose, that none in Ireland fhould be capable of any employment, or of being in the magistracy of any city, who did not qualify themselves by receiving the facrament, according to the test-act passed in England; which before this time had never been offered to the Irish nation. It was hoped, by those who got this clause added to the bill, that those in Ireland, who promoted it most, would now be the less fond of it, when it had such a weight hung to it.” Burnet's Hift. of his own Times, vol. ii. f. 214.
per annum, granted to the presbyterian ministers in Ulster, was an unnecessary branch of the establishment.
The difsenters, in their petition to the commons on occasion of the above mentioned claufe, complained, “ that," to their great surprize and disappointment, they found a clause inserted in the act to prevent the further growth of popery, which had not its rise in that honourable house; whereby they were disabled from executing any public trust, for the service of her majesty, the protestant religion, or their country; unless, contrary to their consciences, they should receive the Lord's supper, according to the rights and usages of the established church."
This claufe has been since called the facramental test, then first imposed on the difsenters of Ireland ; whose zeal against popery was so credulously blind at that juncture, that upon a promise given them of having it repealed on the first opportunity, they readily concurred in passing, together with the clauses against popery, that mortifying one against themselves. But their friends in parliament, afterwards wanțing either the power or the inclination to make good their promise, that clause was not only left unrepealed, but also put in frequent and strict execution, during all queen Anne's reign. In October 1707, these commons entered into such severe resolutions against difsenters, as plainly shewed, how little confidence their brethren ought to have placed in the promise they made them in 1703. For first, they “ resolved that, by an act to prevent the further growth of popery, the burgesses of Belfast were obliged to subscribe the declaration, and receive the sacrament according to the usage of the church of Ireland.” And secondly, upon the noncompliance of some of these burgesses ; 66 that the burgessship of the said burgesses of Belfast, who had not subscribed the declaration, and received the facrament, pursuant to the said act, was, by such neglect,
become vacant.” 10 In short, notwithstanding the most strenuous and repeated efforts ever since made by the difsenters, to have that disqualifying clause repealed, it still remains in full force against them ;* although its execution has been either artfully evaded, or benignly connived at, since the accession of the present royal family to the throne of these kingdoms.
The same subject continued. On the 23d of February, 1703, pursuant to leave given by the commons,' Sir Theobald Butler, Counsellor Malone, and Sir Stephen Rice (the two former in their gowns, as counsel for the petitioners in general, and the last without a gown, as only a petitioner in his private capacity), appeared at the bar of the house of commons. Sir Theobald Butler, the first and principal speaker on this occasion, demonstrated in a long and pathetic speech, that almost every clause in the act then before them, relating to the Roman catholics of Ireland, was a direct infringement of one or other of the articles of Limerick, which he, at the same time, held in his hand. “ Articles," added he,' “ folemnly engaged to them, as the public faith of the nation! That all the Irish, then in arms against the government, had submitted thereunto, and surrendered the city of Limerick, and all the other garrisons in their poffeffion; when they were in a condition to have held out, till they might have been relieved by the fuccours then coming out of France ; that they had
10 Id. ib. Account of the Debates on the Popery Law of 2d. Q. Ann,
* This clause was repealed without any opposition in the fesGons of 1782.
• See Appendix No. XV.