Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

298 William controlled by his parliament.

the Irish had destroyed their woollen fabrics to encourage those of England? yet they did this in direct breach of the whole transaction, for the 23d of George II, laid a tax on sail-cloth made of Irish hemp. Bounties also have been given in England without extending fully to Irish linens. Checked, striped, printed, painted, stained, or dyed linens, of Irish manufacture, are not allowed to be imported into Britain. In which, and in other articles, they have done everything possible to extend and increase their own linen manufacture, to rival that of Ireland:-See Young's Tour in Ireland, Vol. ii. p. 145. Dublin Edition."

While, however, we condemn the proceedings of the English legislature, at this period, it would be want of candour and of justice, not to exempt William from a great part of our censure. It is well known that he had not the power of controling the parties that then agitated the country; and having succeeded to the throne of England, peculiarly by parliamentary influence, it can hardly be expected that he should exert his authority to negative any of the acts of that parliament. His disposition, which was tolerant and just, was over-ruled by that power, which he could not safely contend with himself. In no instance was this predominance of the parliament more conspicuous, than in its proceedings with regard to the resumption of Irish forfei

tures.

Resumption of the forfeited estates.

299

William had rewarded the services of many of bis adherents, by granting them large possessions in Ireland, the forfeited estates of those who had taken up arms in defence of King James. Those grants amounted to seventy six. The English parliament, with a view probably a view probably to vex the king, certainly with the intention of making him feel his dependance upon themselves, passed an act for the resumption of those grants, upon the plea that William had stipulated with his parliament, that the Irish forfeitures should be sold for the public use, and to help in defraying the expences of the war. They accordingly passed an acts, in 1698, "for granting aid to his majesty by

sale of the forfeited and other estates and interests in Ireland, &c." The whole scope and intention of this proceeding was to censure the conduct of the king. The preamble to the act, after stating that the conduct of the Irish in assisting James was treasonous, (though it should be remembered that James called upon them for their allegiance. personally, and that they were not bound to adopt the conduct of England) concludes with this inference: "Whereas, it is highly reasonable that the estates of such rebels and traitors should be applied in ease of your majesty's faithful subjects of this kingdom, to the use of the public."

The consequence of this act was, that seven commissioners were appointed to enquire into the value of the forfeited lands, and the reasons of their alienation from the public. Of these

[ocr errors]

300 Captious conduct of the English commons. commissioners, three were in the interest of the crown, and the remaining four were attached to the parliament, who accordingly voted that their report alone was entitled to credit, and they also passed a resolution, "that the advising, procuring and passing the said grants of the forfeited. and other estates in Ireland, had been the occasion of contracting great debts upon the nation, and levying heavy taxes upon the people; and that the advising and passing the said grants, was highly reflecting on the king's honour; and that the officers and instruments concerned in the procuring and passing these grants, had highly failed in the performance of their trust and duty."

A bill for the resumption of the granted lands, as public property, passed the lower house, and afterwards, though with some difficulty, the upper. The royal assent was given to it by William with great dissatisfaction, and in his speech to the commons, when they addressed him in relation to the Irish forfeitures, he said, "Gentlemen, I was not led by inclination, but thought myself obliged in justice to reward those, who had served well and particularly in the reduction of Ireland, out of the estates forfeited to me by the rebellion, &c." So captious were the commons, that when this answer was reported to them by the speaker, they resolved" that whoever advised it had used his utmost eudeavours to create a misunderstanding and jealousy between the king and his people."

Death of King William.

301

From these facts it becomes sufficiently obvious that William acted in many instances from the control of that power, which had placed him on the throne, and whose authority he could not feel himself strong enough to resist by his own. He died soon after this, (1702), in consequence of a fall from his horse which fractured his collarbone. He was in the fifty-second year of his age, and the thirteenth of his reign.

302

Reign of Queen Anne.

CHAP. XI.

The penal statutes that were passed against the catholics in this reign more attributable to circumstances, perhaps, than to any settled design of annihilating their civil and political rightsReflections on this subject-Historical account of the various gradations of that pernicious code-Bill for excluding dissenters from offices under the crown in Ireland-How carried- Ministerial artifice employed- Factious proceedings of the two parties in Ireland-Protest of the lords against disqualifying the dissenters-Indisposition of Queen Anne to the protestant succession Her death.

QUEEN Anne, the daughter of James II. wife

of the Prince of Denmark, and the last of the Stuarts, succeeded to the throne of England upon the demise of William, which happened in 1702. From her, allied to that family in whose defence the catholics of Ireland had suffered proscription, confiscation, and death, they might justly have hoped to find a protector and liberator; they might at least have expected, that, if she did not mitigate the severities of her predecessors, she would not add to them by fresh inflictions of her

« ForrigeFortsæt »