« ForrigeFortsæt »
when Cromwell attained to supreme power, seven-eighths of all the ministers paid by the State were connected with these two denominations. The Baptist and Congregational preachers were located in the chief garrison towns of all the four provinces; and were specially favoured in the way of maintenance. But, thirty years after the Restoration, pastors and flocks had almost entirely disappeared. It was computed, in 1672, that nearly one-half of the Irish Protestants of English origin dissented from the Established Church ;2 and almost all these non-conformists must have belonged to the two denominations of " sectaries " whom the Protector specially encouraged. It is now perhaps impossible to trace, with any great degree of accuracy, the progress of their extinction. Some of them returned to England; perhaps a larger number emigrated to America ;* and many were gradually absorbed by the Episcopal Church. "Two are better than one, and a threefold cord is not quickly broken;" but their system of ecclesiastical polity--ignoring any firm bond of confederation-peculiarly exposed them in a time of trial to disintegration and decay. There is reason to think that in a few generations, in consequence of inter-marriages and
anywhere find rest .... it was confined to the strangers alone, and by that disease and in other ways God so humbled their pride that from 1641 to 1650 more than 180,000 English in various parts of Ireland, were carried away, not so much slain in war as destroyed by this Herodian disease and other plagues.”—Moran's Persecutions of the Irish Ca'holics, pp. 170, 171. It is well known that Roman Catholics suffered even more than Protestants from the plague which raged in Ireland during the last three years of the Roman Catholic Confederation ; and Roman Catholics themselves admit that the Presbyterians of Ulster entirely escaped that visitation. See before, p. 100, note (1).
1 Thus, whilst Presbyterian ministers had £ 100 per annum, several Baptists and Independents had twice that suin.
2 Sir Wm. Petty's Political Anatomy. Tracts, p. 305.
3 The Presbyterians can be easily ascertained; and there is no reason to believe that at this time they amounted to more than one-third of the Protestant population. The Episcopalians formed another third. See Petty's Political Anatomy, P. 305. In 1659 there were “no Scotch settlers in the provinces of Munster or Connaught, and but seven in the province of Leinster.”— Observations of W. H. Hardinge, M.R.1.A., on the Earliest K’nown MS. Census Returns of the People of Irelanı. Trans. R.I.A., vol. xxiv. Antiq. part iv., p. 326. Dublin, 1865.
• Froude's English in Ireland, i. 156.
otherwise, a considerable portion of their descendants became Romanists." At the present day Anabaptism and Independency are almost unknown in the two provinces of Leinster and Munster, where, little more than two centuries ago, they were numerically as strong as Episcopacy.?
A conspiracy in which Anabaptists and Congregationalists were largely involved, and which was discovered in 1663, exposed the Irish Protestant Dissenters to considerable odium. The army of Ireland at the period of the Restoration was made
ир to a great extent of the sectaries ; and such of the officers and men, as were believed to be still republicans at heart, were soon quietly disbanded by the new administration.3 The dismissal of so many privates, lieutenants, and captains, created deep dissatisfaction; and not a few of them were quite prepared to welcome another revolution. The Acts of Settlement and Explanation 4—which disposed of a large portion of the landed property of the kingdom-gave them additional offence. By these Acts, Episcopalians and Romanists, who had remained faithful to the Royal cause, were restored to their possessions; whilst large numbers of the soldiers of Cromwell were deprived of advantages on which they had been calculating 5 The malcontents at length
| See Prendergast, pp. 261, 262, 266 ; and Mant, ii. 572.
2 Lord Clare, in his famous speech in the Irish House of Lords in February 1800, makes the following remarkable statement :-“A new colony (in the time of Cromwell] composed of all the various sects which then infested EnglandIndependents, Anabaptists, Seceders, Brownists, Socinians, Millenarians, and Dissenters of every description, many of them infected with the leaven of democracy -poured into Ireland, and a very considerable portion of the opulence and power of the kingdom of Ireland centres, at this day, in the descendants of this motley collection of English adventurers.”-Speech, pp. 16, 17, Dublin, 1800. According to the Census, the Independents in all Munster amounted in 1871 only to 330 persons; and the Baptists, only to 169. 3 Carte's Ormonde, ii. 259.
The Act of Settlement is the 14th and 15th of Charles II., chap. ii. The Act of Explanation, which prosessed to explain, and which somewhat modified the Act of Settlement, is the 17th and 18th of Charles II., chap. iii. “Of the 5,200,000 acres (Irish Plantation measure) which had been forfeited, there were given back to Catholics . . . . 2,340,000 acres ; 200,000 more were restored to Ormond, Inchiquin, Roscommon, and other Royalist Protestants ; 120,000 were given to the Duke of York."-FROUVE's English in Ireland, i. 153.
5 “ By the 17th and 18th of Charles II., chap. iii. (1665), the soldiers, adventurers, and debenture holders consented to accept two-thirds of their legitimate claims, and those already in possession to part with a third of the land they held
formed a plan for the subversion of the Government. Colonel Blood, a man of restless temperament and of daring character, was the most active of the conspirators. They proposed to make a prisoner of the Duke of Ormonde, to seize the Castle of Dublin, to put an end to the tyranny of the bishops, and to take steps for the suppression of Popery. Though most of them had long before repudiated the guidance of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, they now seemed inclined to retrace their steps; for they talked of " settling religion according to the Solemn League and Covenant.”? But the whole scheme-which was conceived in folly-terminated in disaster. The plot was detected when it was ripe for execution ; Blood contrived to make his escape ; but others who were implicated were captured and executed. A Presbyterian minister named Lecky, who was resident in Dublin, and who was the brother-in-law of Blood, had been so misguided as to join in the conspiracy; and he was one of those who suffered the penalty of death.
As a body, the Presbyterians of Ulster had no part in this movement. Blood had been among them, and had earnestly sought their co-operation ; but they refused to give him any encouragement. One or two of their ministers of little note deviated from the course pursued by their wiser and more experienced brethren; and were, in consequence, obliged to quit the country. But though, with a single exception, the Presbyterian pastors in Down and Antrim had not been in any way connected with the plot, orders were issued by a suspicious Government for the apprehension of them all ; a considerable number endured a tedious imprisonment ;5 and many of them were forced to leave the kingdom.
to secure an unchallenged tenure of all that remained.”-Frouve's English in Ireland, i. 151. Between the passing of the Act of Settlement in 1662, and the passing of the Act of Explanation in 1665, there was much dissatisfaction among all classes in Ireland.
1 Immediately after the Restoration, this nobleman-before a marquis-was made a duke. : Carte, ii. 268; Reid, ii. 292.
3 Carte, ii. 270. * Reid, ii. 290-1.
• Carte has supplied a very confused and somewhat contradictory report of this affair ; and he is followed by Mant, who absurdly speaks of it as if it had been
It was not strange that Blood expected the Presbyterians of the north to join in his conspiracy-as they had abundant cause for discontent. Their ministers had all along been the friends of constitutional freedom ; and, when Charles I. was put to death, they had strenuously denounced his execution. Their protest - which had attracted attention all over the three kingdoms—had brought down on them the wrath of the regicides, and the scurrility of John Milton. They had, immediately afterwards, acknowledged Charles II. as their rightful sovereign; had prayed for him in public; and had, in consequence, been proscribed. When, however, Cromwell saw that they were not factious politicians, and that they were peacefully attending to the duties of their ministry, he became more tolerant; and, though he still refused to permit them to receive the tithes of their parishes, he gave them something like an equivalent out of the public treasury. Their adherents, in consequence, rapidly multiplied in Ulster, so that, towards the end of the Protectorate, they had the charge of eighty congregations. They hailed, with the highest satisfaction, the return of Charles II; he led them to expect that he would prove their friend ; and they zealously endeavoured to promote his restoration. But, of all the Protestants of the three kingdoms, they were the very first to suffer for their non-conformity. The prelates were not well in office when a proclamation appeared, which was understood to be of their dictation, and in which meetings of presbytery were denounced as "unlawful assemblies."? About the same time a party of horse was sent to break up a presbytery convened at Ballymena in the County of Antrim; but the court had terminated its proceedings before the troopers arrived. In the spring of 1661- only a few months after his consecration- Jeremy Taylor, Bishop of Down and Connor, silenced, at his first visitation, no less than thirty-six Presbyterian ministers in his diocese. The Irish Parliament had not
a conspiracy of the “Scoto-Irish Presbyterians.”—Mant, i. 641. Adair, in his Narrative, has given a very full and candid account of it. Narrative, pp. 270-282. 1 Reid, ii. 252.
Some of these congregations had not ministers. They were supplied with preaching and other ordinances by the pastors near them, Reid, ii. 256.
3 Adair's Narrative, p. 246.
yet assembled; and, had he been at all inclined to lenity, he might have permitted these brethren to remain still in the Establishment. He proceeded on the principle that all laws, in existence before the overthrow of the royal authority, were valid ; and that, consequently, he was authorized to insist on the observance of the Act of Uniformity. But that Actpassed a century before-had, until now, been seldom carried strictly into execution ; and the author of the “Liberty of Prophesying” was guilty of the most shameful inconsistency when he thus commenced his episcopal career by deposing the best and most faithful preachers in Down and Antrim.
Bramhall, the Primate, adopted a course somewhat different from that pursued by Taylor. He assumed that those who had received only Presbyterian ordination were not qualified to officiate as ministers of the Church of Ireland; and, when they refused to be re-ordained, he declined to recognize them, and declared their places vacant. He thus acted without any
? legal warrant; for the law had not yet pronounced ordination by Presbyters invalid ;3 and, in the confession drawn up by Ussher for the use of the Established Church in 1615, it was virtually acknowledged. It was, however, useless, in the present position of affairs in Ireland, to dispute the will of the lords spiritual.
1 About this time some changes were made in the English ritual. In 1665 the Irish Parliament passed an Act requiring all the clergy to adopt the revised English Liturgy. The Act is the 17th and 18th of Charles II., chap. vi.
Several parts of the Act of Uniformity, pass-d in the beginning of the reign of Elizabeth, had never been generally enforced. Had Taylor been at all inclined to lenity, he might have indulged the Presbyterian ministers for four years longer, that is, until the passing of ihe new Act of Uniformity in 1665.
• Afraid to offend the Prut stant churches on the Continent, Bramhall and others did not prosess to annihilate Presbyterian ordination ; but they practically treated it as a nullity. See Mant, i. 623.
3 The Statute of the 13th of Elizabeth, chap. 12, admits the ministrations of those ordained in Scotland or in foreign churches. In 1665 the Irish Parliament virtually acknowledged that the prelates had previously acted illegally; for it made a law to the effect that, from the 29th of September, 1667, every person not in holy orders by episcopal ordination, or who should not be ordained before that date “according to the form of episcopal ordination,” should be disabled from holding an ecclesiastical benefice. See Mant, i. 646. This Act would have been unnecessary had not Bramhall been acting unconstitutionally.