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Persecution of the catholics in the reign of queen Anne. During all queen Anne's reign, the inferior civil officers, by order of the government, were incessantly hampering the Roman catholics with oaths, imprisonments, and forfeitures, without any other visible cause, but that of their religious profession; but the conduct of these people was still found so blameless, that it fometimes made their very persecutors ashamed of their severity. In the year 1708, on the bare rumour of an intended invasion of Scotland by the pretender, “'no fewer than forty-one Roman catholic noblemen and gentlemen were imprisoned in the castle of Dublin.” R 2
à This persecution of the catholics of Ireland, had no other foundation but the pretender's being of the same religion with them; at the same time that the Irish presbyterians were highly favoured by government; although it appears from Mr. Hook's authentic Memoirs, that the presbyterians in the western and southern counties (of Scotland), namely, in Clydesdale, Nithfdale, Galloway, Air, Kirkudbright, with those of the provinces of Tiviotdale, Tweedale, and the Forest, were (at that juncture) resolved to take arms, and declare for the king (the pretender), and to raise 13,000 men, whom they were in a condition to be able to maintain; that they were ready to join themselves to the friends of the king, whether catholics or epifcopals ; that they would begin, and thereby give an opportunity to the rest to rise ; and that they would put the strong castle of Dunbarton, on the river Clyde, into the hands of the person named by the king ; that they had a correspondence with the north of Ireland, and were certain that the Scots who inhabit that province, would declare for them; that they were ready to declare unanimously for king James; that all they asked was liberty of conscience for themselves, as well as the catholics." Hook's Mem. p. 40, 41, 42.
They are certain, that the inhabitants alone of the north of Ireland, who are Scots, will directly furnish 20,000 men, compleatly armed, under a commander of great reputation among them, who has thereto engaged himself.* Id. ib. p. 4.
And when they were afterwards set at liberty, cause they had acted nothing against the government, the state was so sensible of the wrong done them by their long and irksome confinement, “ that it remitted their fees, though they amounted to eight hundred and odd pounds.
What pitiful occasions were then taken, from every trifling circumstance of their religion, to persecute the persons of these unhappy people, appears, among numberless other instances, from the following passage ; which, however inconsiderable in itself, has acquired some weight and importance from the remarkable notice taken of it by the Irish commons. It seems there is a place of pilgrimage with them in the county of Meath, called St. John's well, which had been frequented every summer from time immemorial, by infirm men, women, and children of that persuasion, in hopes of being relieved from their several disorders, by performing certain acts of devotion and penance there. This the Irish commons deemed an object worthy of their most serious consideration, and a matter of the greatest national concern; and accordingly paffed a vote, that these fickly devotees, “ were assembled in that place to the great hazard and danger of the public peace, and safety of the kingdom.” In consequence of which, fines, imprisonments, and whipping were made the penalties of “ such dangerous and tumultuous assemblies.” A penance much more severe than, probably, these poor people intended to inflict on themfelves ; and from which they could hardly obtain any other cure of their disorders, but that never-failing one, death ; which, in those times of religious rancour, frequently happened, by the extreme rigour of their punishment.
The scheme of the original framers of this law seems to have been, to drive the Roman catholic natives out of the kingdomo (which effect it certainly produced on great
And even such of the Roman catholic natives, as were afterwards willing to return, were not permitted. For in 1713,
numbers), and to introduce foreign protestants in their room. Accordingly, in the year 1709, at the request of the lords and others of the council, eight hundred and twenty one protestant Palatine families were brought over to Ireland, and the sum of twenty-four thousand eight hundred and fifty pounds, five shilings and fixpence, appointed for their maintenance, out of the revenue, on a resolution of the commons, - that it would much contribute to the security of the kingdom, if the said Palatines were encouraged and settled therein.” But the error of that policy was soon after difcovered; for the lords, in their address to the queen, in 1711, thankfully acknowledge, “ that her majesty's early care had even prevented their own endeavours to free the nation of that load of debt, which the bringing over numbers of useless and indigent Palatines had brought upon them.” It is remarkable that only four, out of this great number of protestant strangers brought over for the security of the kingdom, enlisted in her majesty's army, though she was then actually engaged in a war with France.
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the commons ordered, that “an address should be made to her majesty, to defire her, that she would be pleased not to grant licences to papists to return into the kingdom.” Com. Journ. vol. iii.
It was even dangerous for them to attempt, or endeavour to hear, what pafled in the house of commons concerning themselves. For in the same year, an order was made there, “ that the serjeant at arms should take into custody all papists, that were or should presume to come into the galleries." Ib. f. 976.
In the same year the house of commons in England, says Burnet, came to a sudden vote, that those who had encourage ed, and brought over the Palatines, were enemies to the nation. They even repealed a bill for the naturalization of all protestants, which had passed two years before, pretending that it gave the encouragement to the Palaties to come over.” Hift. of his own Times, vol. ii. f. 338.
Penal laws of discovery and gavel-kind enacted.
May 1709, was introduced into the house of commons, by Mr. Serjeant Caulfield, a bill for explaining and amending an act, intitled an act to prevent the further growth of popery. This bill was passed and transmitted into Great Britain, in due form, on the 20th of June following, and got the royal assent from Thomas Earl of Wharton, lord lieutenant of Ireland, on the 30th of August in the same year.
As this second act to prevent the further growth of popery did, indeed, complete the misery of these people, without even the pretence of any recent provocation on their part; it will probably throw light on this dark and iniquitous transaction, to give some sketches of the character of that chief governor, by whose influence and management, this new calamity was brought upon them, which I shall now do from the account left us of him and his administration here, by that real and venerable patriot, Dr. Jonathan Swift, who was perfonally acquainted with him.
“ Thomas Lord Wharton, by the force of a wonderful constitution, had passed, by some years, his grand climacteric, without any visible effects of old age,
either on his body, or his mind; and in spite of a continual prostitution to those vices, which usually wear out both. His behaviour is in all the forms of a young man at five and twenty; whether he walks, or whilstes, or swears, or talks baudy, or calls names, he acquits himself in each beyond a templar of three years standing... He goes constantly to prayers in the forms of his place, and will talk baudy or blasphemy at the chapel door. He is a presbyterian in politics, and an atheist in religion; he had imbibed his father's principles of government, and took up no other in its stead, excepting that circumstance, he is a firm presbyterian. It
was confidently reported, as a conceit of his, that talking upon the subject of Irish bishops, he once faid, with great pleasure, he hoped to make his wea
“ He is perfeâly skilled in all the arts ci ateities at elections, as well as in large baits of pieaire, ior making convcrts of young men of quality, upon their first
appearance; in which public service he contracted such large debts, that the ministry in England were forced, out of mere justice, to leave Ireland at his mercy, where he had only time to fet himself right; although the graver heads of his party think him too profligate and abandoned, yet they dare not be ashamed of him : for he is very useful in parliament, being a ready speaker, and content to employ his gift upon such occasions, where · those who conceive they have any remains of reputation or modesty, are ashamed to appear.
“ He hath funk his fortune by endeavouring to ruin one kingdom ; and hath raised it by going far in the ruin of another. His administration of Ireland was looked upon as a sufficient ground to impeach him, at least for high crimes and misdemeanors; yet he has gained by the government of that kingdom, under two years, five and forty thousand pounds, by the most favourable computation, half in the regular way, and half in the prudential.”
The most ignominious part of this character was written, and I believe published, about the time of this eari's administration. The dean further adds, he has had the honour of much conversation with his lordship, and that he was thoroughly convinced, how indifferent he was to 'applause, and how insensible of reproach ; he is, says he, without the sense of shame or glory, as some men are without the sense of smelling, and therefore a good name to him is no more than a precious ointment would be to these.”
After having exhibited this genuine picture of his excellency and his government of Ireland, as I may fay, from the life, it is but juft, I should recite some
of those distinguished honours which were paid him by