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"and conspiracies in England and Scotland, could induce them to swerve from their allegiance. "The knowledge of the monarch's necessities, "which controled the exercise of the king's just and generous disposition, excused, in the minds of the "catholics of his days, the harsh measures of his government."
We now come to what Mr. Burke justly terms the ferocious acts of the reign of queen Anne.”
By an English act of parliament, catholics were prevented from purchasing any of the forfeited lands; and leases of them, containing more than two acres, were annulled*.
The cruelty of this law is without precedent: the lands forfeited at the revolution were supposed to amount to a million of acres; those who had forfeited them, were disabled from repurchasing them; and not only they, but all other catholics, were disabled from taking leases of them, even at rackrent, or any lease that should comprise more than two acres, a quantity insufficient for the subsistence of a family. Thus, throughout the whole of these ample territories, catholics were debarred from all durable or profitable tenure; were doomed to be tillers and labourers to the new protestant settlers; and the hope of the slightest amelioration of their miserable lot, even at a distant period, was
1 Anne, c. 32.
absolutely denied them. A bill was then prepared to disable catholics to purchase or take by inheritance or gift, any lands in the hands of protestants, and to render the lands, of which they were owners, descendible in gavelkind; but, if the eldest son conformed to the protestant religion, the father was reduced to a tenancy for life, without power to sell or mortgage, or even to provide, except under the control of the chancellor, for his younger chil
To ensure the passing of this bill, the whole house accompanied the speaker to the lord lieutenant, and urged him to assist it, in its progress through parliament, with all his influence and power.
We have noticed that even king William had experienced, in the leading persons in Ireland, something of a controlling power. Most of them were presbyterians, and hostile to the episcopal church. The government of England was jealous of them, and wished to lessen their consequence. With this view, the council added to the bill a clause, which excluded from civil and military offices, all persons, who should not receive the sacrament of the Lord's supper, according to the usages of the church of Ireland.
To prevent this dreadful bill from passing into a law, the catholics petitioned both houses of parliament, to be heard by counsel. Having obtained this permission, sir Toby Butler and sir Stephen Rice, their counsel, and Mr. Malone, a private catholic gentleman, were heard against the bill at the bar of the house of lords. They showed, with great
eloquence and force of reasoning, the general cruelty, injustice, and impolicy of the proposed bill, and its direct violation of many of the articles in the treaty of Limerick: but they pleaded in vain, and the bill passed unanimously *.
Other acts against the catholics were passed in the same reign. The most remarkable of them †, was an explanation, and certainly a considerable aggravation of the act, which we have mentioned. It directed that the chancellor, if a child of a catholic parent conformed to the protestant religion, might compel the parent to declare, upon oath, the value of his real and personal estate; and might assign out of it to the child, such a present maintenance and fortune, as he should judge proper. It also directed that, if the wife of a catholic conformed, the chancellor might assign to her for a jointure the full extent of what the husband himself could settle upon her: it provided, that all members of parliament, barristers, attornies, and officers in the courts of law, should educate their children in the protestant religion; that a catholic teaching in public or private should be deemed and prosecuted as a papist recusant convict, or in other words should be subject to the penalties of præmunire. A graduated scale of rewards, to discoverers of popish clergymen and schoolmasters, was established: and then, in direct opposition to the uni
2 Anne, c. 6. An act to prevent the further growth of popery.
8 Anne, c. 3. An act for explaining and amending an act, intituled, "An Act to prevent the further growth of popery."
versal feeling of all mankind, which pronounces informers to be an odious race, the house of commons resolved, that "prosecuting and informing
against papists was an honourable service.” The catholics were heard against this bill as against the former, by their counsel sir Stephen Rice; and it may be thought that his eloquence made some impression, as two archbishops and five bishops signed a protest against it.
"The catholics," says Mr. O'Conor*, "were generally compassionated. Neither the menaces power, nor the contagion of example, nor the "influence of religious hatred, nor the prejudices “of party, could eradicate the seeds of humanity; they connived at, encouraged, and aided evasions "of the penalties and provisions of these iniquitous "statutes: many of them concealed proscribed "priests in their houses, and became trustees in purchases of properties and settlements of estates "for catholics, in order to favour their industry "and protect them from the ruin of the gavel act. "Committees had been repeatedly appointed by "the house to inquire into and devise means to prevent the evasions of the popery code: the ingenuity of benevolence still thwarted the ma"lignity of party, still provided resources for mis"fortune." Several unfortunate noblemen and gentlemen, whom the penal code had reduced from affluence and comfort to misery, were harboured by protestants, who took on themselves successively the charge of this hospitality. By an act, passed in * O'Conor's History, p. 179.
the fifth year of her majesty, parliament deprived these wretched sufferers of this last resource, by enacting, that "all vagrants, pretending to be Irish "gentlemen, who cohered about from house to "house, should be sent on board the fleet, or trans"ported to the plantations *."
Speaking generally, -all the rigorous laws which we have mentioned, were actively executed, so far as their execution depended on government or its retainers: the commons came to a resolution, that all magistrates and other persons whosoever, who neglected or omitted to put the penal laws into execution, were betrayers of the liberties of the constitution t.
The consequence is thus described by a writer, whom I have often cited and shall often cite ‡; "The loss of rights and property extinguished every "sort of patriotism, and infused the spiritless in"difference of submissive poverty into the great "mass of the people, who barely existed in their "native soil, strangers to its natural blessings, the patient victims of its the insensible specwrongs, "tators of its ruin. Here they vegetated on the potato root, decayed in the prime of life, desti"tute of solid nourishment, and sinking to untimely graves, their vigour prematurely exhausted by hard labour, and the spark of life at length "exhausted by famine."-Much of what is now visible in Ireland, too clearly shows that this representation is not exaggerated.
* O'Conor's Hist. p. 177.
+ Com. Journals, vol. iii. p. 289.