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CHAPTER I.

FROM THE ACCESSJON OF CHARLES I. TO THE DEATH OF

STRAFFORD. A.D. 1625 TO A.D. 1641.

CHARLES I. was married to Henrietta Maria, daughter of Henry IV. of France. As the queen was a Romanist, the Irish recusants were led to entertain high hopes when he commenced his reign; for they argued that a prince, who permitted his wife to attend their worship, could not well refuse to extend the same indulgence to his subjects across the Channel. His pecuniary difficulties also inspired them with encouragement. They were aware that his treasury was exhausted; that money was urgently required to meet the expenses of the wars in which he was involved; and that the necessary funds could not be expected from a vote of his English parliament. By an offer of a voluntary contribution, they expected to be able to prevail on him to grant them toleration. So confident were they of success, that they began to celebrate their services as openly as if they had already obtained the sanction of the government. The

1 A contemporary R.C. ecclesiastic and an Irishman, thus describes the state of his Church at this period :-"Catholics were honoured with the commission of the peace in town and country in many places ; and Catholic lawyers were permitted, without difficulty, to plead at the bar. The bishops exercised their episcopal functions ; the priests, their parochial duties; almost every city and town in Ireland had religious communities, which lodged in houses hired for the purpose, and were not prohibited to perform all the duties of their orders. They had not, it is true, any formal permission for these duties, but they were tolerated and connived at. . . . Our bishops, deans, archdeacons and other dignitaries had no regular or fixed revenues or property; they, as well as all the other clergy, were

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