Billeder på siden

Of the sixty-eight or sixty-nine Presbyterian ministers now in Ulster, only seven or eight conformed. or eight conformed. The remaining sixty-one submitted to deprivation rather than sacrifice their religious convictions. The brethren thus driven out of the Establishment experienced no little harsh treatment. As they did not feel at liberty to relinquish the sacred office, they continued to minister to the people in private dwellings and in barns; and, when forbidden to preach, they were harassed by grievous prosecutions because they refused obedience.2 Four of them were imprisoned for the long term of six years by Leslie, Bishop of Raphoe. In 1665 the Irish Parliament passed an Act providing that any one of them who dared to celebrate the Lord's Supper thereby incurred a fine of one hundred pounds. But, regardless of these pains and penalties, they persevered in their pastoral labours, and often met with the people at dead of night to dispense to them the ordinances of the Gospel. Their proceedings were narrowly watched; their steps were tracked by informers; and the people, as well as the ministers, were sadly distressed by the proceedings of the bishops' courts.


According to the Act of Uniformity, everyone absent from the Established worship was liable to a fine; and the prelates had now recourse to this odious method of enforcing attendBut the mulcting system was bitterly resented by all classes of non-conformists-whether Romanists or Protestants -so that the Government was at length compelled to interfere, and insist on its discontinuance. The bishops now saw that they might overshoot the mark by measures of extreme harsh

1 Reid's Hist. of Presb. Church in Ireland, ii. 266.

2 On the 29th of July, 1661, the Irish Parliament ordered that Mr. Boyd, Presbyterian minister of Aghadoey, be examined by the Judges of Assize who ride that circuit, for holding a conventicle at Desertoel, in the County of Derry, contrary to the Declaration of the House. Mant, i. 635.

3 The imprisonment lasted from 1664 to 1670. Keid, ii. 304. 4 Mant, i. 646, 648-9.

5 Reid, ii. 264, 277.

6 Reid, ii. 280-1. In 1669 George Fox, the founder of the Quakers, appeared in Ireland. On this occasion he sent a challenge to "all the friars, monks, priests, and jesuits, to come forth and try their God and their Christ, which they had made of their bread and wine." In the same year Solomon Eccles, a Quaker, was imprisoned at Galway for disturbing a Roman Catholic congregation. "He went naked above his waist with a chafing-dish of coals and burning brimstone upon

ness. Though, for a time, the Presbyterian ministers of Ulster suffered severely because of their supposed connection with Blood's Plot, the prosecution, on the whole, was not permanently prejudicial to their interests; for their innocence was so fully established, and their peaceable demeanour so clearly ascertained, that the State at length seemed disposed to make amends for their unjust imprisonment by permitting them to preach without molestation. The ministers who had fled. into Scotland began, one after another, to return; the people, in defiance of the threats of the episcopal party, attended on their services; and meeting-houses were soon erected in various districts. In 1669 presbyteries were organized; and, though it was deemed prudent to hold these courts in private, arrangements were made by them for the maintenance of discipline, and for the supply of vacant congregations.1 The Duke of Ormonde, when Lord Lieutenant, was disposed to treat the Presbyterians with indulgence; and he was wont to say that their case was a hard one, as they had formerly suffered for the King, and were now obliged to suffer under him.2 In 1672 Sir Arthur Forbes-afterwards Earl Granard -who, about that time, was one of the Lords Justices of Ireland, recommended them to the monarch's favour; and, in consequence, their ministers then obtained their first grant of Regium Donum. This grant-amounting to £600 per annum3 -was to be shared with the widows and orphans of those who had been ejected at the Restoration. Though they received so substantial a token of royal consideration, they were patronized, as it were, by stealth; for the Regium Donum was given under the name of secret service money. The civil disabilities imposed on them in the statute book were not removed; and


his head, and entered the chapel, when all the people were on their knees praying to their idol, or images, and spoke as followeth Woe to these idolatrous worshippers: God hath sent me this day to warn you, and to show you what will be your portion, except you repent'-which when he had done, he went away to the town."-WIGHT AND RUTTY'S History of the Rise and Progress of the Quakers, PP. 117, 119, 120.

1 Reid, ii. 309.

2 Ibid. ii. 285.

3 Charles II. proposed to give them £1,200 per annum ; but it appeared that nothing more than the sum mentioned in the text was forthcoming. Reid, ii. 334, 335, note. 4 Reid, ii. 334, 335, note.

they were kept in alarm even when the penal laws were not rigorously carried into execution. For years they did not venture to engage publicly in the act of ordination-as that proceeding would certainly have brought down on them the vengeance of the prelates. Young pastors were set apart to their office, "by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery," in circumstances of great privacy. But their Church, notwithstanding, continued to flourish, and attained a degree of expansion which it had not reached before.

The treatment experienced by the Romanists under the Protectorate was certainly not fitted to win them over to Protestantism. A catechism had been translated into Irish for their use; and they were invited and urged to attend on the services of the preachers paid out of the public treasury; but men driven from their homes, stripped of their property, and smarting under a sense of wrong, were not likely to listen with much patience to the instructions of ministers patronized by Cromwell. With a view to their enlightenment, Jeremy Taylor, shortly after the Restoration, published, at the request of his episcopal brethren, a work entitled, A Dissuasive from Popery. This production was ill adapted to instruct those for whose benefit it was designed-as it was too large and too pretentious; and less likely to convince than to exasperate. The Bishop of Down and Connor had a rich imagination, a graceful style, and a large amount of various learning; but as he was himself deeply infected with the errors of Pelagianism, he was indifferently qualified to deal with the subtleties of Romanism. Like his early patron, Archbishop Laud, he had no great aversion to some of the peculiarities of the system he attacked; and as his book wanted the pithy earnestness which such a controversy required, it seems to have produced little impression.

Though the adherents of the Catholic Confederation had been long in collision with the Irish Lord Lieutenant, they professed to be attached to the royal cause; and they were certainly bound by their oath of association to render allegiance to the English sovereign. It was no easy matter

1 See before, p. 122, note (2).

to reconcile these professions with the course which they pursued; and their proceedings, about the time of the death of Charles I. and afterwards, were strangely at variance with them; for they were then prepared to hand over the kingdom to a foreign potentate. But, under the Protectorate, the condition of the Romanists was more intolerable than it had ever been before; and many of them looked for better days when Charles II. regained possession of the throne. Those who had taken no part in the rebellion expected the recovery of their lands; and those who had consented to the peace concluded with Ormonde early in 1649, were disposed to cherish the hope that the promises then made to them would now be fulfilled. But they soon discovered that they still had formidable enemies to encounter. The adventurers and soldiers-who occupied their lands, and who claimed them by right of purchase -denounced the natives as disloyal; and affirmed that their fealty to the Pope rendered them unfit to be trusted by Protestant rulers. Nor did they want weighty reasons in support of their allegations. Ever since the Reformation the bishops of Rome had been fomenting rebellion in Ireland. Their bulls encouraging sedition had been published all over the country; and they had been sending, to the disaffected, supplies of men, money, and warlike stores. No oath of allegiance could be framed to which they could be induced to give their sanction; and they had more than once evinced a disposition to affirm the principle that those who acknowledged their supremacy were not bound, in conscience, to be faithful to a heretical sovereign. At the Restoration, Irish Romanists found themselves thus placed in a disadvantageous position; and those of them who were expecting to recover their lands deemed it specially necessary in some way to vindicate their loyalty.1 Towards the close of the year 1661

1 About this time the story that, in November, 1641, three thousand Romanists were driven over the Gobbins in Islandmagee was concocted and publ shed. In 1655, and the years following, the sufferings of the persecuted Waldenses had awakened the deepest sympathy throughout the British Islands; and Milton had told, in immortal verses, of

"The bloody Piedmontese who rolled
Mother with infant down the rocks."

Many of the Irish who had fled from their native country after 1641 were concerned

some of their leaders accordingly met in Dublin; and agreed to draw up, for presentation to the King, an address known. as "The Remonstrance." The document was prepared by Richard Belling, who had acted as Secretary to the Supreme Council of the Catholic Confederation; and that part of it which related to the authority of the Pope was a literal transcript of the printed Declaration of the Roman Catholics of South Britain, composed by an English Benedictine, and laid before Charles I. in 1640.1 As an avowal of allegiance it was, unquestionably, sufficiently explicit. "We acknowledge and confess ourselves," said the Remonstrants, "to be obliged, under pain of sin, to obey your Majesty in all civil and temporal affairs, as much as any other of your Majesty's subjects, and as the laws and rules of government in this kingdom do require at our hands. And that notwithstanding any power or pretension of the Pope, or the see of Rome, or any sentence or declaration of what kind or quality soever, given, or to be given, by the Pope, his predecessors, or successors, or by any authority, spiritual or temporal, proceeding or derived from him or his see, against your Majesty or royal authority, we will still acknowledge and perform, to the uttermost of our abilities, our faithful loyalty and true allegiance to your Majesty. And we openly disclaim and renounce all foreign power, be it either papal or princely, spiritual or temporal, inasmuch as it may seem able or shall pretend, to free, discharge, or absolve us from this obligation, or shall any way give us leave or license to raise tumults, bear arms, or offer any violence to your Majesty's person, royal authority, or to the State or Government." 2

This Remonstrance was forwarded to Peter Walsh, a Fran

in these atrocities, as they had meanwhile been taken into the service of the Duke of Savoy. Their partizans now endeavoured to turn the torrent of public indignation by producing, for the first time, this absurd tale of the three thousand martyrs of Islandmagee.

1 Brenan's Eccles. History of Ireland, p. 477; O'Conor's Historical Address, part ii., p. 144.

The Remonstrance may be found at length in a work often already quoted -Walsh's History and Vindication of the Loyal Formulary or Irish Remonstrance, pp. 7-9. See also Brenan, appendix iv, 675-6.

« ForrigeFortsæt »