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But the repeal of laws which favour the tyranny and oppression of one class of men over another, does not at once destroy inveterate habits of domination or disqualification. The operation is slow. Thus it will be found, that many of the most obnoxious of the exclusions and restrictions imposed on the Roman Catholics in the days of per. secution and bigotry, are as completely in operation as they were forty or fifty years since.
I cannot enter into detail of the various penalties, disqualifications, and oppressions, which, to the disgrace of the government, remain in force in Ireland, against this proscribed body. I shall confine myself to a few of the most prominent.
The vile law still remains in force, which subjected a Roman Ca. tholic clergyman to be hanged, if he celebrated marriage between two Protestants, or between a Protestant and a Roman Catholic.* By an act passed so late as 1793, there was a penalty of 500l. imposed upon Catholic clergymen celebrating marriages of this description. It was supposed, and rationally enough, that this enactment virtually repealed the former bloody law. But that this is an erroneous construction has been declared by the late lord Kilwarden from the bench in several prosecutions under this act, in the year 1800.1 Catholic priests are liable to imprisonment, for not revealing se
ooooo period in America, for the success of the first concessions that were made to them. This appears very evident, from the failure of an attempt which was made by Mr. James Fitzgerald, a few month before the introduction of the act of 17, 18 Geo. III. to obtain for them a power to take leases for lands for 61 years. For, soon afterwards, when the intelligence arrived of the defeat of the British forces in America, the same Parliament, on the recommendation of the government, passed an act for enabling them to take land on leases for 999
** If a Catholic clergyman happens, though inadvertently, to celebrate marriage between two Protestants, or between a Protestant and a Catholic (unless already married by a Protestant minister) he is liable by law to suffer death."'1035
+ " And that every Popish priest, or reputed Popish priest, who shall celebrate any marriage between two Protestants, or between any such Protestant and Papist, unless such Protestant and Papist shall have been first married by a clergyman of the Protestant religion, shall forfeit the sum of 500l. to his majesty, upon conviction thereof."2036
" It was for some time supposed, that the former punishment of death for this offence was virtually mitigated to the penalty of 500l. by the fair construction of the last mentioned act, and had become merged in the new prohibition. However, the contrary doctrine has been adopted by high law authority, and in several cases, particularly in that of the king at the prosecution of surgeon B-, against the reverend Mr. G-, John Mac Dermot, and others where lord Kilwarden, chief justice of the King's Bench, declared publicly in full court, that this offence continues at this day to be punishable with death, under the Popery laws."1037 1034 Parnell, 122.
1035 Statement of Penal Laws, 16. 1036 Idem, 19.
crets confided to them in the confessional*--and are liable to be punished by civil action for excommunicating unworthy members of their own communion.t
The exclusions from public offices are to the last degree oppressive, and vexatious, and pernicious. By positive law, no person can be mayor, sovereign, portrieff, burgomaster, bailiff, alderman, recorder, treasurer, sherift, town-clerk, common council man, master or warden of any guild, corporation, or fraternity, or hold any such or like offices, in any city, walled town, or corporation in Ireland, un
000000000 *“ Catholic priests are liable to imprisonment for refusing, upon being interrogated in courts of justice, to divulge the secrets of private confession, confided to them by their penitents."1088
“ The late lord Kilwarden, chief justice, committed to jail a Catholic priest, the reverend Mr. Gahan, for a contumacy of this nature. This occurred at the summer assizes of 1802, for the county of Meath, held at Trim, in the case of Mrs. O'Brien r. The trustees of Maynooth college."1639
7" The Catholic clergy are liable to be punished, by civil action, for excommunicating unworthy members of their own communion." 1040
1“ It is difficult to enumerate all the municipal situations in the various cities and towns of Ireland, closed against Catholic industry and merit. In the city of Dublin alone we find the offices following, viz. Lord mayor and aldermen
24 Sheriffs ž, sheriff's peers 38
40 Recorder and treasurer
2 Common council-men
96 Masters and wardens of guilds, about
84 Town clerks
“Passing then to the other cities and corporate towns of Ireland, which may be reckoned at 115 in number, (as Cork, Limerick, Waterford, Belfast, Kilkenny, Drogheda, Galway, Sligo, Derry, Cashel, Clonmell, Trim, Enniskillen, Wexford, &c. &c.) we may reasonably take the average number of corporate offices in each at about 20 : which probably falls far short of the real number, since the city of Dublin alone appears to produce pearly 250. This average number of 20 offices to each of these 115 other corporations, gives the number of 2300; and, added to the number of 248 appearing in Dublin, will amount to a total of 2,548 corporate offices in Ireland, comprised within this positive proscription."1041
6. Thus far do the words and letter of the law extend; but its spirit and necessary operation reach farther. They render inaccessible to Catholics the numerous lucrative situations dependent upon, and connected with, these corporate offices; the patronage, power, preference, and profits at their disposal. In the city of Dublin alone,
1038 Statement of Penal Laws, 21. 1039 Ibid. 1040 Idem, 26. 1041 Idem, 94,
less he takes the oath of supremacy and certain other oathis, or unless the lord-lieutenant for the time being shall think fit, by writing, un
the number of these dependant situations exceeds 200—including the entire police establishment and its officers, paving and lighting and pipe-water boards, commissioners of wide streets, court of conscience, grand jury, city surveyors, craners, collectors, clerks, secretaries, solicitors,
agents, and the various petty offices of more or less emolument,, derived from those boards,
“ We may fairly estimate the number of 1,000 as not exceeding the amount of similar minor offices in the gift, or at the disposal of, the several corporate officers in the remaining cities and towns of Ireland. This number, added to the number of 200 to be found in the city of Dublin, will form a total of 1,200 offices in Ireland, from which the Catholics are excluded by the spirit and consequential hostility of those laws, which exclude them from corporate offices.
“ Hence it will appear, that the gross number of offices and situations from which this class of penal laws excludes the Catholics, may be considered as amounting, directly and by express enactment, to About
2,548 Consequentially, to about
56 The class of exclusion, which we are now to consider, comprehends almost every desirable office in the profession or administration of the laws. The offices of this description, to which the Catholics are forbidden to aspire, by the letter of the statutes, are the following, viz. Lord high chancellor, or keeper, or commissioner of the great seal
1 Master or keeper of the rolls
1 Justices of the king's bench
4 Justices of the common pleas
4 Barons of the exchequer
4 Attorney and solicitor general King's serjeants at law
3 King's council (present number)
26 Masters in chancery Chairman of sessions for the county Dublin
1 Counsel to the commissioners of revenue
2 Recorders of cities and towns, about
60 Advocates in spiritual courts, about
20 Sheriffs of counties
32 Of cities and towns, about Sub-sheriff's
“ To this number may be added 25 commissioners of bankruptey,
1042 Statement of Penal Laws, 95.
der his hand and seal, to dispense with his taking them. These baths, being a full and complete abjuration of their religion, are an effectual
and 31 assistant barristers, or chairmen of county sessions : for, although the Catholics are not, by the express letter of the law, disabled from holding these offices, yet in practice they are excluded, with scarcely a single exception. 1048
“ The consequential operation of the exclusion of Catholics, from these offices reaches-naturally and necessarily-to all the bene ficial subordinate situations. Such are those of registers to judges, and to vicars-general: secretaries, deputies, court-officers, clerks of the crown, clerks of the peace, assistants in the various law offices, solicitors, and treasurers to numerous public boards and establishments, agents, clerks to great public officers, &c. Of all these subordinate, but lucrative offices, we may reasonably estimate the actual number, as exceeding 1000."1046
Having recapitulated sundry other offices, such as proctors, advocates in spiritual courts, &c. &c. he proceeds :-“ Thus there appears to be a total number of nearly 1500 offices, connected with the profession and administration of the laws which are interdicted to the Catholics, either by the express letter, or by the necessary operation of the present penal code.
“Of the injury and degradation which this interdiction inflicts upon the Catholic body, we need not offer stronger evidence than the fact of the interdiction itself. One hundred and sixty legal offices of honour and of emolument, are inaccessible to Catholic barristers, and open to Protestants. Thirteen hundred other offices are reserva ed solely for the ruling class, to the exclusion of Catholic students, solicitors, attornies, clerks," &c. &c. 1045
“ We shall proceed to our enumeration of the offices not already classed or specified, viz.
Lord lieutenant, lord deputy, or other governor of Ireland 1 Lord high treasurer, or lords of treasury
8 Custodes rotulorum of counties
32 Governors of counties (present number)
85 Privy counsellors (present number)
100 Postmasters general
2 Chancellor of the exchequer
1 Secretary of state
1 'Teller or cashier of the exchequer
1 Keeper of the privy seal
1 Auditors-general Provost of Dublin University
1 Fellows of the University
** The foregoing list of offices and situations of trust, emolument,
1013 Statement of Penal Laws, 112.
1044 Idem, 115.
1045 Idem, 116.
exclusion of the Roman Catholics from all those offices. The saving clause of the lord lieutenant's dispensing power is wholly nugatory, as " it does not, upon enquiry, appear to have been exercised in any one instance.91046
In corporate towns, Roman Catholics are uniformly excluded from grand juries, and very frequently from petit juries. This is an awful feature of their situation, exposing them in many cases, particularly in the desperate conflicts between the different factions that prevail there, to the tender mercies of their deadly enemies. The sheriffs, all Protestants, pack the juries: and innocence in such cases, must often pay the penalty of guilt, and atrocious guilt secure impunity, and come off with #ying colours, as if it were immaculate innocence. Of the effect of this state of things my author draws the following picture, on which, considering the mode of ushering this work into the world, full reliance may be placed :
“Verdicts have been frequently pronounced-wholly contradictory to evidence-reprobated even by the sitting judges-and not to be accounted for, otherwise than upon the marked principle of religious prejudices.
Catholic prisoners are brought to trial upon charges affecting their lives: the evidence failing, the crown lawyers abandon the prosecution, as untenable-the judge directs an acquittal: and yel, the jury finds a verdict of guilty!!!
«Again. Protestant prisoners, armed yeomen or soldiers, are prosecuted for gross outrages against the properties and persons of Catholics--for robbery-and murder. The evidence is clear and connected—the judge chargés unfavourably—and yet to the amazement of unreflecting spectators--the jury acquits instantly!!!”1047
Roman Catholic soldiers are liable to be, and frequently are or dered to attend divine worship in protestant churches--and liable to
Oooood or dignity, from which the Catholies are excluded, by the express letter of the law, comprises about 261 in number. These disqualifications, too, haye been re-enacted, so recently as in the year 1793."1048
“ Throughout the entire post-office establishment in Ireland, for instance, consisting of several hundred persons, there is scarcely a single Catholic to be found in a higher situation than that of a common letter-carrier; and few of even this class. The like may be affirmed of the stamp-office, bank of Ireland, and the other public boards and establishments of Ireland. Yet the far greater proportion of their salaries and emoluments is extracted from the labours, the industry, and the contributions of Catholics."1049
** Whatever may be his wealth, his talents, or his services, he is uniformly refused a place upon grand juries within those corporate towns: and even upon petty juries, unless when the duty is arduous, and unconnected with party interests. He more than doubts of obtaining the same measure of justice, of favour, or respect, from the mayor, recorder, alderman, tax-gatherer, public boards, &c. that is accorded to his Protestant neighbour."1050
1046 Statement of Penal Laws, 92. 1047 Idem, 226. 1048 Idem, 135. 1049 Idem, 136.
1050 Idem, 101.