« PreviousContinue »
Severe laws made again t catholics. AMONG many other severe laws, then enacted, against Irish catholics, his majesty gave the royal assent to that illiberal act to restrain foreign education," by which it is provided, “ that, if any subjects of Ireland fhould after that session of parliament, go, or send, any child or person, to be educated in any popish university, college or school, or in any private family, or if such
And any person that shall from the ist of May, knowingly conceal, or entertain any such popish archbishops, bishops, &c. hereby required to depart out of this kingdom, or that after the Taid day shall come into this kingdom, shall for the first offence forfeit 201. for the second double the fum, and if he offend the third time, shall forfeit all his lands and tenements of freehold or inheritance, during his life; and also all his goods and chattels; one moiety to the king, his heirs and fucceffors, and the other moiety to the informer (so as it exceed not tool.) and the surplusage of what shall remain, to the king.
December ist, 1697. “ Resolved, that part of the act 2d Eliz. chap. 2d. which obliges every person, not having a lawful or reasonable excuse to be absent, to resort every Sunday to church, and there abide during the time of common prayer, preaching, and other service of God be there ministered, under pain of forfeiting for every neglect, twelve-pence, ought to be put in execution." Com. Jour. vol. ii. f. 984. Are not these a direct and immediate violation of the first article of Limerick, and of king William's solemn promise for the free exercise of the catholic religion?!
“ Whilst this restraint upon foreign and domestic education was part of an horrible and impious system of servitude, the members were well fitted to the body. To render men patient, under a deprivation of all the rights of human nature, every thing which could give them a knowledge or feeling of those rights was rationally forbidden. To render humanity fit to be insulted, it was fit that it should be degraded.... Indeed I have ever thought the prohibition of the means of improving our rational nature, to be the worst species of tyranny that the insolence and perverseness of mankind ever dared to exercise. This goes to all men, in all situations, to whom education can be de. nied.” Lett. Eng. Commoner to a Peer of Irel. p. 13.
child should, by any popish person, be instructed in the popish religion, or if any subjects of Ireland should fend money or other things towards the maintenance of such child or other person, already sent or to be sent, every such offender, being thereof convicted, should be for ever disabled to sue, or profecute any action, bill, plaint, or information in law, or equity ; to be guardian, administrator, or executor to any person, or to be capable of any legacy or deed of gift, and besides, should forfeit all their estates, both real and personal, during their lives.” This law was rigorously executed during that and the succeeding reign.
In the same session, “it was resolved, nemine contra. dicente, that the excluding of papists from having votes for the electing of members to serve in parliament was necessary to be made into a law." Nothing certainly, but such a law was wanting to complete the slavery of these people, and they were, accordingly, afterwards excluded in the first act to prevent the further growth of popery in the following reign. Thus were these, and divers other proceedings of the like enslaving-tendency against these people, permitted and countenanced by a prince, the boasted restorer of liberty to these kingdoms, whose public faith and honour were folemnly engaged to preserve their former privileges entire ; and to endeavour to obtain from parliament further security for them, in the article of religion, which was what alone rendered them thus obnoxious to government.
“ The taking away of a vote (says the same English commoner) is the taking away the shield which the subject has, not only against the oppression of power, but that worst of all oppressions, the perfecution of private society, and private manners. No candidate for parliamentary influence is obliged to the least attention towards them, either in cities or counties. On the contrary, if they should become obnoxious to any bigotted or malignant people amongst whom they live, it will become the interest of those who court popular favour, to use the number. less means which always reside in magistracy and influence, to oppress them. The proceedings in a certain county in Munster, in the 1769), read a strong lecture on the cruelty of depriving men of that shield, on account of their speculative opinions. Id. ib.
It is really shameful to see what mean, malicious, and frivolous complaints against papists were received under the notion of grievances, by that parliament. petition of one Edward Sprag and others in behalf of themselves and other protestant porters, in and about the city of Dublin, complaining, that one Darby Ryan a papilt, employed porters of his own persuasion, having been received and read, it was ordered to be referred to the examination and consideration of the committee of grievances, and that they should report their opinion thereon to the house." It is obfervable, that the complaint of the petition was not, that these protestant porters were not employed by Ryan, but that the popish porters were.
And yet thefe fame commons, that shewed such remarkable deference to this trilling petition of the protestant coal-porters of Dublin, were not ashamed to refuse, in the fame session, common justice, in a matter of the last consequence, to several of the most respectable Roman catholics of Ireland. For, upon a bill's being brought before them, very improperly intitled an adt, “ for the confirmation of the articles of Lime-,
A petition of Robert Cusack, gentleman, Capt. Francis Segrave, and Capt. Maurice Eustace, in behalf of themselves and others comprized under the articles of Limerick, setting forth, that in the said bill there were several clauses that would fruitrate the petitioners of the benefit of the same; and if passed into a law, would turn to the ruin of fome, and the preju. dice of all persons intitled to the benefit of the said articles, and praying to be heard by counsel to faid matters; having been presented and read, it was unanimously resolved that said petition should be rejected.”
The catholics of Limerick cruelly treated. It would be too tedious and irksome, to recite all the other instances of the breach of these articles, which we find recorded and avowed in the public journals of that parliament. I shall, therefore, only take notice of one remarkable passage, which immediately preceded the passing of the first act to prevent the further growth of popery.
The catholic citizens of Limerick thought themselves particularly secured, by their articles, from any fu: ture molestation or disturbance on account of their religion; but besides what they had already fuffered, in common with the rest of their countrymen of the same persuasion, they are now compelled to abandon their dwellings, and settlements "there, on that: singlerac count: " for upon a petition of the mayor, sheriffs, and protestant aldermen of that city, complaining, (like the protestant coal-porters of Dublin beforementioned) that they were greatly damaged in their trade, by the great numbers of papists residing there, and praying to be relieved therein; a claufe was ordered to be inserted in the act “ to prevent. the further growth of popery,” that every person of the popish religion, then inhabiting within the said city, or its suburbs, should give in fufficient bail or security, before the chief magistrate of the faid city, that they would bear themselves faithfully towards her majesty; or in default of giving such fecurity, should depart out of the said city and fuburbs.” *
TOV) iban By the ad of the civil articles of Limerick, “the inhabitants or residents thereof, of what profession, trade, or calling foever they be, frall, and may use, exercise, and practife their respective trades and callings there, as..freely as they did use, exercise and enjoy the same in the reign of King Charles the second." And yet fays Sir Theobald Butlery in his pleading
against But besides the difficulty these people were under of getting such security, as, at that period of jealousy and distrust, would be allowed sufficient by the chiefmagistrate, who was himself the principal petitioner against them; even those few catholic inhabitants, whose security was unexceptionable, and who consequently could not be hindered to continue in their habitations, were yet, soon after, put under a necessity of abandoning them, of their own accord ; unless it can be supposed, that trading people can live contentedly, or with any sort of convenience, in a place where they are forced to remain separate from their wives, children, and servants.
For that such was to be the fituation of those few licensed catholics (not more than twenty' were suffered to be thus licenced), is manifeft from hence, that 2 “ in March 1704, a petition from the Roman catholic inhabitants of Limerick, praying that bail might be taken for their wives, children and servants, as inhabitants thereof, having been presented to the house, and read, it was ordered to be rejected."
CH A P.
" Com. Journ. vol. jii. fol. 133.
2 Ib. f. 281.
against this clause, in the act of the ad of Queen Anne, “ the Roman catholic citizens of Limerick are prohibited by it from living or fțaying there, even such as were under the articles, and by vittue thereof had even fince (1691) lived there, without giving fuch security, as neither these articles, nor any law heretofore in force, do require, except seamen, fishermen, and day-labourers, who did not pay above forty shilllings a year rent.
6. The act to prevent the further growth of popery sets forth, " that if any person or persons of the popish religion, other than such trading merchants (viz. seamen, fishermen, and day-labourers, who did not pay above forty shillings a year rent), not exceeding twenty, in each of the towns of Limerick and Galway, as shall be licensed by the chief governor and governors of this kingdom, for the time being, Thall presume to live, dwell, or inhabit, or take any house or tenement, in either of faid towns, or their suburbs; he or they shall forfeit all his or their goods and chattels, and suffer imprisonment for the space of one whole year.” Com. Journ. vol. ij. f. 133.