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Death of George the First.

343 was devoted to the single aim of asserting and maintaining the legislative superiority and dominion of England. Hence he was, by necessity, an enemy to the true interests of Ireland; and hence his memory is held in very little estimation by posterity, which judges more dispassionately than his contemporaries could do of his purposes and the agency through which he accomplished them.

The remaining years of the reign of George I. comprise nothing that relates very particularly to Ireland; and we hasten therefore to that of his successor. George I. died on Sunday, June 11, 1727, at the palace of his brother the Bishop of Osnaburg, while on his journey to visit his electoral dominions. He was in the 68th year of his age and the 13th of his reign.

544

Reign of George II.

CHAP. XIII.

Reign of George II.-Address to him by the Catholics-Superciliously received by the lord lieutenant-Character of Primate Boulterhis splendour and his political intrigues-Duke of Dorset viceroy-Tythe of agistment unfairly resisted by the Commons of IrelandObservations on Irish tythes and proposed method of remedying the grievance-Lord Chesterfield appointed viceroy in 1745-His beneficial Administration-Character of Primate Stone—His vices-Extract from Churchill -Death of George II.

ON the arrival of an express from Osnaburg, with the intelligence of the death of the king, the new monarch, assembling the privy council, commanded the members to be sworn anew: and he then declared to them his firm purpose, to preserve inviolate the constitution in church and state; and to cultivate those alliances which his father had made with foreign princes. It was soon evident, no essential alteration would be made in the political system established by the late king, as all the great officers of state were continued in their places; and Sir Robert Walpole, who was prime minister, seemed even to possess a higher and

Proceedings of Primate Boulter. 345

more exclusive share of favour and confidence than before.

The Irish who had not forgotten the assertion, that many of the penal statutes, passed against them in the reign of Queen Anne, was to be ascribed to the circumstance, that they had neglected to address her on her coming to the throne, were resolved to leave no similar pretext for the enactment of any fresh severities, (if fresh severities could possibly be invented) or for the vigorous execution of those that already existed. Accordingly, for the first time since the revolution, the catholics ventured to approach the throne, by a public act of their body. They drew up an address of congratulation, which in a dignified manner expressed loyalty to their sovereign, and pledged themselves to a continuance of their quiet and peaceful demeanour. It was presented to the lords justices by Lord Delvin, and several respectable catholic gentlemen; but, in perfect consistency with that odious and detestable system, which had been uniformly adopted to degrade and dispirit the catholics of Ireland, this expression of their loyalty, zeal, and attachment, was received with silent contempt. The lords justices were, Primate Boulter, Thomas Wyndham, and William Conolly: and though they were most humbly entreated to forward it to the foot of the throne, they neither deigned to give any answer at the time, nor was it ever known whether it reached its destination or not. By con

346

Proceedings of Primate Bouller.

duct like this through a long series of a years, the catholic population of Ireland, were goaded into rebellion and contumacy, and then, when the measure of their offences came to be considered, they were punished for the iniquities of their tyrants and persecutors.

There is a wearisome monotony of oppression prevails through this period of Irish history. Almost every measure, whether originating in the native government, or in the cabinet at home, was only more or less conspicuous, as it went to destroy every thing that could give the catholic inhabitants of Ireland an interest in their country by identifying them with its prosperity, happiness, and liberty. Nay, so blind and infatuated was the policy adopted, that, in many cases those measures equally affected the welfare of the protestant inhabitant; for whatever crippled their commerce destroyed their manufactures, diminished their resources, or destroyed their political authority, and independence, affected them as much as it could the proscribed catholic. Indeed it might be shewn, with very little extent of reasoning; that the interests of the latter were intimately blended with those of the former, and that it was impossible to aim a blow at the prosperity of the one, without injuring that of the other.

Primate Boulter, who is now to act so conspicuous a part in the history of this country, and whose views and policy have been developed, in his own letters, was unceasingly active to maintain

The Irish Catholics disfranchised.

347

the English ascendancy in Ireland, and to stigmatize as disaffected and disloyal, all, no matter whether tory, dissenter, or papist, who were anxious to preserve the native rights of Ireland unbroken. He now (1727) meditated a bold step. Not one of the oppressive and arbitrary acts of Elizabeth and Anne had gone so far as to deprive the catholics of their elective franchise. It was thought, at least, that as subjects of the same crown, and called upon to pay their proportion towards the general exigencies of the state, they were entitled to have a voice in the appointment of those who were delegated to watch over their interests. No matter, whether that elective franchise became a real or only a nominal advantage, or whether the Roman catholic was or was not anxious to exercise his right in favour of protestant representatives, whom he knew could have no political, civil, or religious feeling in common with himself. The principle was the thing to be guarded; and there is a great difference between depriving a man of a right, and leaving him in the possession of that right, to exercise it or not, as he may think proper. The Primate, however, with a view to confirm the English ascendancy, and to blot out the last remaining vestige of freedom which still belonged to the degraded catholic, resolved to disfranchise-what? four fifths of the population of Ireland! A moderate exercise of arbitrary and oppressive power! There had been indeed a

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