Billeder på siden

-The most odious and wicked provisions of this code have been repealed; and an opinion too generally prevails, that it is nearly annihilated. This is a most egregious error. There is a variety of harassing and vexatious disqualifications and incapacities still in full force, as shall appear in the next chapter.

Various causes conspired to produce the salutary effect of mitigating the severity of this vile code. The first stroke it received arose from the spirit of volunteering in Ireland, a consequence of the declared inability of the British government to protect that country, during the war against the United States, France, Spain and Holland. Every description of religionists mixed in the ranks of the volunteers, which engendered an enlarged and liberal spirit of national feeling. The Irish Catholic and the Irish Protestant, as well as the Protestant dissenter, were amalgamated into one solid mass of friends to their common country. Many links of the chains of the nation at large, as well as of the proscribed Catholics, were then knocked off. The increasing liberality of the age has successively removed others. But it is disgraceful and dishonourable, that much remains yet to be done.

It may be thought a work of supererogation, at this time, to revive the remembrance of a code so odious, so detestable, and so infamous. But this work would be very incomplete, and the reader would have a very imperfect idea of the state of Ireland, and the horrible tyranny under which the mass of the population has groaned, did I not give some sketch of this system.

All Roman Catholic archbishops, bishops, vicars-general, deans, or any other persons of that religion, exercising ecclesiastical jurisdiction, were liable to imprisonment and transportation ; and, in case of returning, were guilty of high treason, and were to be punished accordingly. *

In the year 1704, a law was passed, ordering all the Roman Catholic priests in Ireland to register themselves in the parishes to which they respectively belonged ; and to give security for their good behaviour, and for their non-removal from the county where they then resided.t

* All Popish archbishops, bishops, vicars-general, deans, Jesuits, monks, friars, and all other regular Popish clergy, and all Papists exercising any ecclesiastical jurisdiction, shall depart this kingdom before the 1st of May, 1698. And if any of them shall be, at any time after the said day, within this kingdom, they shall be imprisoned and remain there without bail till they be transported beyond the seas, out of the king's dominions, wherever the king, his heirs or successors, or chief governors of this kingdom shall think fit; and if any so transported shall return again into this kingdom, then to be guilty of high treason, and to suffer accordingly."993

† “ Every Popish priest, who is now in this kingdom, shall at the next quarter sessions, to be held in the several counties, or counties

903 Robins's Abridgment of the Irish Statutes, 451.

When a priest officiated in any other parish than the one wherein he was registered, he was liable to transportation ; and, in case of return, to be hanged without benefit of clergy.*

Every Roman Catholic clergyman in the kingdom not registered;t every one afterwards coming into it from abroad;t every one who kept a curate or assistant;y and every such curate or assistant,I was also liable to transportation, and eventually to the gallows, if lue returned.

Two justices might summon any Roman Catholic, sixteen years old, to appear before them, to give testimony when and where he heard mass; who were present, and who celebrated it; and all such other matters and things, touching the priest, as might be necessary to his conviction. In case of refusal, he was subject to a fine of twenty pounds, or imprisonment for one year. 994

Any Roman Catholic priest, celebrating marriage between two Protestants, or between a Protestant and Roman Catholic, was guilty of felony, I and liable to suffer death without benefit of clergy!

of cities or towns, next after the feast of St. John Baptist, 1704, return his name and place of abode, together with his age, the parish of which he pretends to be Popish priest, the time and place of his receiving Popish orders, and from whom; and shall then enter into recognizance, with two sufficient sureties, each of the penalty of fifty pounds, to be of peaceable behaviour, and not remove out of such county where his abode is, into any other part of this kingdom.”995

* " No Popish priest shall exercise the function or office of a Popish priest, but in the parish where the said Popish priest did officiate at the time of registering the Popish clergy, and for which parish also he was registered, and in no other parish whatsoever, under the penalties as any Popish regular convict is liable unto.??986

"Every person whatsoever, exercising the office or function of a Popish priest, found in this kingdom, after the 24th of June, 1705, other than such as are registered pursuant to the above act, shall be liable to such penalties, forfeitures, and punishments, as are imposed on Popish archbishops, bishops, g c.99997

"Every Popish clergyman coming into this kingdom after the 1st of January, 1703, shall be liable to such penalties, forfeitures and punishments as are imposed on Popish archbishops, bishops, &c.99998

$“Every Popish parish priest, that shall keep any Popish curate, assistant, or coadjutor, shall lose the benefit of having been registered, and shall incur all the penalties of a Popish regular, and shall be prosecuted as such ; || and every such Popish curate, assistant, or coadjutor shall be deemed as a Popish regular, and prosecuted as such."999

1“ If any Popish priest, or reputed Popish priest, or any person pretending to be a Popish priest, or any degraded clergyman, or any No Roman Catholic was allowed to have in his own possession, or the possession of any other person for his use, any horse, mare, or gelding, of the value of five pounds. Any Protestant, discovering to any two justices that a Roman Catholic had a horse of that value, might, with a constable and assistant, break open any door; seize. such horse ; bring bin before the justices; and, on paying five pounds five shillings, have the property of such horse, “ as if bought in mar- . ket overt!!!"

094 Robins, 462. 299 Idem, 453.

995 Idem, 458. 996 Idem, 464.

999 Idem, 462.

997 Idem, 459.

layman pretending to be a clergyman of the church of Ireland, as by law established, shall, after the 25th day of April, 1726, celebrate any marriage between two Protestants, or reputed Protestants, or between a Protestant or reputed Protestant and a Papist, such Popish priest, &c. shall be guilty of felony, and shall suffer death as a felon, without benefit of clergy, or of the statute!!!"10001

** No Papist, after the 20th of January, 1695, shall be capable to have, or keep in his possession, or in the possession of any other, to his use, or at his disposition, any horse, gelding, or mare, of the value of 5l. or more ; and if any person of the Protestant religion, shall make discovery thereof upon oath, to any two justices of the peace, or to the chiet' magistrate of any city or town corporate, they may within their respective limits, by warrant under their hands and seals, authorize such person, in the day-time only, to search for and secure all such'horses: and in case of resistance, to break open any door, and bring such horse or horses before them, and such discoverer, (being of the Protestant religion,) paying or making tender, before such justices, mayor, &c. of the sum of 51. 5s. to the owner or possessor of such horse, after such payment, or tender and refusal, the property of sach horse or horses, shall be vested in the person making such discovery and tender, as if the same had been bought and sold in market overt."1001

† This clause had nearly proved fatal to a rascal who took advantage of it, about forty years since. He forcibly seized a horse, sad.. dled and bridled, belonging to a Roman Catholic. But, though the

When very young, I distinctly understood, that a Protestant, of, the name of Walker, who lived in Thomas street, Dublin, prosecuted. a Roinan Catholic clergyman, who had married his daughter to a Roman Catholic, and that the clergyman was found guilty and actually hanged. Doubts have been insinuated of the fact. I am nevertheless persuaded of its correctness; but still I may be in error. Traditions, received at early periods of life, are liable to be mistaken, after a long lapse of time, for recollections of facts subjected to the senses. I intended to have ascertained this point by writing to Dublin-but neglected it. It must therefore rest in a state of uncertainty. The reader, however, will find in the next chapter, that this law is actually still in force, and that a clergyman who marries a Protestant to a Roman Catholic is now liable to be hanged, notwithstanding the various modifications of the “ Popery laws."

1000 Robins, 388.

1001 Idem, 450.

Any person concealing such horse, was liable to be imprisoned three months, and pay treble the value.1002

Civil officers were authorized to seize the horses of Roman Catholics, on certain contingencies. If returned, the owners were to pay the expenses of seizing and keeping them. 1003

To increase the profligacy and turpitude of this code, a large portion of its provisions were ex post facto, and operated the work of rapine and depredation for years antecedent to their enaction. In 1710, an act was passed, annulling fines, recoveries, and settlements. made for seven years preceding."

All collateral and other securities, by mortgages, judgments, statutes merchant, or of the staple, or otherwise howsoever, to cover, support, or make good any bargain, sale, confirmation, release, or other conveyance, contrary to a preceding piratical law, were rendered null and void. And any Protestant might sue out such mort. gages, or sue for such lands, in any court of law, and obtain a verdict, and have execution to be put in possession thereof.

ooOOOOOO law sanctioned the robbery of horses, it did not authorize that of saddles and bridles. The villainy excited universal indignation among the liberal Protestants. The felon was prosecuted for the robbery of the saddle and bridle, and narrowly escaped the gallows, which he richly deserved. One other circumstance, arising from this law, may merit attention. A Catholic, who owned one of the most celebrated racers in Ireland, worth two hundred guineas, being informed that a person was about to seize him, and pay him the price fixed by law, mounted the horse, and presented him to a Protestant friend; thus defeating the miscreant of his vile purpose.

*" All settlements, fines, common recoveries, and other conveyances had or made since the 1st of January, 1703, of any lands, &c. by any Papist, or by any Protestant who turned Papist since the said ist of Jan. 1703, or by any such Papist with his then Protestant wife, who bath turned Papist as aforesaid, whereby any Protestant is barred of any estate, in reversion or remainder, whereunto such Protestant was intituled at the time of levying such fine, suffering such recovery, or making such conveyance, shall as to such Protestant be null and void."1004

+ " All collateral and other securities, by mortgages, judgments. statutes merchant, or of the staple or otherwise, which have been!!! or hereafter shall be, maile or entered into, to cover, support, or secure, and make good any bargain, sale, confirmation, release, feoffment, lease, or other conveyance, contrary to 2 Ann. Sess. 1. c. 6. are void to the purchaser of any the said lands or tenements in trust for, or for the benefit of, any Papist, as likewise to any such Papist, his heirs and assigns, and all such lands, &c. so conveyed or leased, or to be conveyed or leased to any Papist, or to the use of, or in trust for, any Papist, contrary to the said act, and all such collateral securities as are or shall be made or entered into, to cover, support, secure or make good the same, may be sued for by any Protestant, by

1002 Robins, 451.

1003 Idem, 466.

1004 Idem, 460.

This provision was retrospective: thus, if a Roman Catholic had lent ten thousand pounds, and, as a security for payment, taken a mortgage on real estate, any Protestant might sue out such mortgage, and rob the lender of his property! None of the legislators of Tripoli or Algiers, none of the ferocious followers of Blackbeard, or Morgan, the pirates,-none of the banditti whose trade iş rapine and plunder, ever conceived a more piratical or plundering act than this. It may be fairly said to have converted the seat of legislation into “a den of thieves.”

If any Protestant woman, possessed of real estate of any description whatever, or personal estate to the value of five hundred pounds, married, without a previous certificate that her intended husband was a Protestant, she forfeited her whole estate, which went to the next Protestant heir. 1005

To outrage the feelings of the wretched Helots, they were forbidden, under a penalty of ten pounds, to bury their dead in the graveyards of any suppressed convent, abbey, or monastery, * where rested the remains of their ancestors!

In order to secure impartial justice, in England, foreigners, accused of petit treason, murder, or felony, are tried by a jury composed of an equal number of natives and foreigners ; and juries are thus constituted in civil actions between denizens and foreigners. But, as if nothing were too sacred or holy to be trampled under foot, in Ireland, in all the cases arising under the laws " to prevent the growth of Popery,” Catholics were expressly excluded from juries;t and

his proper action, real, personal, or mixt, founded on this act, in any of her majesty's courts of law or equity, if the nature of the case

shall require it.” * Provided any

Protestant may prefer one or more bill or bills in the chancery, or chancery of exchequer against any person concerned in such sale, lease, mortgage, or incumbrance, and against all persons privy to such trust for Papists; and to compel such person to discover such trusts, and answer all matters relating thereunto, as by such bill shall be required: to which bill no plea or demurrer shall be allowed: but the defendant shall answer the same on oath at large, which answer shall be good evidence against the defendant, in actions brought upon this act: and that all issues, in any suit founded on this act, shall be tried by none but known Protestants!!!"1000

** None shall, from the said 29th of December, bury any dead in any suppressed monastery, abbey, or convent, that is not made use of for celebrating divine service according to the liturgy of the church of Ireland by the law established, or within the precincts thereof, upon pain of ten pounds. 91007

7"From the first of Michaelmas-Term, 1708, no Papist shall serve or be returned to serve on any grand jury in the queen's bench, or before justices of assize, oyer and terminer, or gaol delivery, or quarter sessions, unless it appear to the court, that a sufficient number of Protestants cannot then be had for the service; and in all trials of

1005 Robins, 385.

1005 Idem, 464, 5.

1007 Idem, 452

« ForrigeFortsæt »