Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

LXXXI. 6.

GEORGE THE FIRST.

SIR Henry Parnell* mentions the titles of six acts of parliament, which were passed in this reign against the roman-catholics, all vexatious and humiliating, some highly oppressive.

He concludes the account of them by the following observations †.

[ocr errors]

"The loyalty of the catholics was in this reign put to a complete trial, by the Scotch rebellion "of 1715. If, after having fought three campaigns "in support of James's pretensions to the throne "of Ireland, after having experienced the infrac"tion of every part of the treaty of Limerick, and "been exposed to a code of statutes by which they "were totally excluded from the privileges of the "constitution; and if, after they had become sub"ject to the worst of all oppressions, the persecu"tion of private society and private manners, they "had embarked in the cause of the invader, their "conduct would have been that of a high spirited "nation, goaded into a state of desperation by their "relentless tormentors; and, if their resistance "had been successful, their leaders would have "ranked among the Tells and Washingtons of "modern history.--But so far from yielding to the "natural dictates of revenge, or attempting to take

* Hist. p. 43; 2 Geo. I, c. 9, 10. 19; 4 Geo. I, c. 15, 16; 6 Geo. I, c. 10.

+ History of the Penal Laws, p. 44.

"advantage of what was passing in Scotland, to "regain their rights, they did not follow the example of their rulers, in violating, upon the first "favourable opportunity, a sacred and solemn "compact; and thus they gave the strongest testimony, that they had wholly given up their former hopes of establishing a catholic prince upon the "throne. Their loyalty was not, however, a pro"tection to them against the oppressions of their "protestant countrymen. The penalties for the "exercise of their religion were generally and rigidly inflicted, their chapels were shut up, the their priests dragged from their hiding-places, hurried "into prisons, and from thence sent into banish"ment."

66

66

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

66

"In 1732," says a respectable writer *, a pro"clamation was issued against the roman-catholic clergy, and the degree of violence, with which it was enforced, made many of the old natives look seriously, as a last resource, to emigration. Bishop "O'Rorke retired from Belanagare, and the gen"tlemen of that neighbourhood had no clergyman "for a considerable time to give them mass, but a

<?

poor old man, one Pendergast, who, before day"dawn on Sunday, crept into a cave in the parish "of Baslick, and waited there for his congregation, "in cold and wet weather, hunger and thirst, to preach to them patience under their afflictions, "and perseverance in their principles; to offer up prayers for their persecutors, and to arm them

((

"

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the late Charles O'Conor, vol. i. p. 179.

"with resignation to the will of heaven in their "misfortunes. The cave is called, Poll-an-Aifrin, "or mass-cave, to this day; and is a melancholy "monument of the piety of our ancestors."

It is a subject of just reproach to the memory of the celebrated dean of St. Patrick's, that his works do not contain a single passage in which he has either advocated the cause of the catholics, or so much as expressed any compassion for their sufferings in the following lines he even describes their fallen and hopeless state with visible exultation. "We look upon the catholics to be altogether "as inconsiderable as the women and the chil"dren. Their lands are almost entirely taken from them, and they are rendered incapable of purchasing any more; and, for the little that remains, provision is made by the late act against popery, "that it will daily crumble away: to prevent which, some of the most considerable among them, are already turned protestants, and so in all probability will many more. Then, the popish priests "are all registered, and without permission, (which "I hope will not be granted), they can have no successors; so that the protestant clergy will find "it, perhaps, no difficult matter to bring great "numbers over to the church; and in the mean "time the common people, without leaders, without discipline, or natural courage, being little better "than hewers of wood and drawers of water, are "out of all capacity of doing any mischief, if they 66 were ever so well inclined *.”

66

Letter concerning the Sacramental Test.

66

66

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66

Still Swift, though unintentionally, was a great benefactor to the cause of the Irish catholics. Speaking of his Draper's Letters, a performance which, in its kind, is yet without a rival or a second, Dr. Johnson observes, that "it was from the time "of this publication, that the Irish may date their "riches and prosperity. He taught them first to "know their own interest, their weight and their "strength, and gave them spirit to assert that "equality with their fellow-subjects, to which they "have ever since been making vigorous advances, "and to claim those rights which they have at last "established." This circumstance created among the Irish protestants, a party who advocated the real interests of their country against the oppressions of its governors. For some time, however, they cooperated with the party in power in their persecution of the catholics; but, by degrees, they became sensible that this was incompatible with the real interests of the nation; and began to feel some disposition to relieve their catholic brethren. Add to this, that the catholics, though depressed and degraded, had a numerical strength, which each party felt it their interest to conciliate.

LXXXI. 7.

GEORGE THE SECOND.

THE same system of penal legislation was pursued throughout the reign at which we are now

arrived. It was opened by an act*, which disabled papists from voting at elections, without taking the oath of supremacy: this act completed their entire exclusion from the constitution.

The charter schools, a new engine of oppression, were erected during this reign; their funds consist of lands, funded property, and an annual grant from parliament, yielding an annual income of about 34,000l. The children admitted into the schools, were those of the indigent poor, and five-sixths of these being catholics, the schools were almost entirely filled with the children of catholic parents: but this circumstance was entirely disregarded; the religion of the established church being exclusively taught in them. The charter for the incorporation of the society, mentions expressly that the schools were formed "for the conversion of these children.”

The act of the nineteenth year of the reign of which we are now speaking, annulled all marriages between protestants and catholics.

The conduct of the catholics during the Scottish rebellion, in 1745, is admitted to have been most loyal and exemplary. Dr. Stone, the primate, published a letter, in which, after mentioning the ample means of information which he possessed, he declared, that "he could not discover the least trace, hint, or intimation of any disloyal intercourse or correspondence among the catholics, or their

[ocr errors]

1 Geo. II, c. 9, & c. 30; 7 Geo. II, c. 5, & c.6; 9 Geo. II, c. 3, & c. 6; 13 Geo. II, c. 6; 19 Geo. II, c. 5; 23 Geo. II,

c. 10.

[ocr errors][merged small]
« AnteriorContinuar »