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their honour, their property, and their lives, were tbus exposed to the mercy of their envenomed enemies.
If a Catholic child were sent abroad without license, it was presumed by law that he was sent to be educated in a foreign seminary; by which a forfeiture of his personal and of the income of his real estate was incurred. On his return, he might apply to court, and prove the cause of bis absence to have been innocent: in which case, he was entitled to the future income of his real estate, but could not be restored to the proceeds during his absence, nor to any part of his personal estate!”>1008
Roman Catholics were prohibited from acting as guardians. An infraction of this law subjected the party to a penalty of five hundred pounds."
Roman Catholic house-keepers were obliged to find fit Protestant substitutes for militia duty; and, in case of neglect or refusal, to pay double the fine iinposed on Protestants ;t and likewise to pay, towards the support of the militia, double what the Protestants paid. I
Catholics were not allowed to purchase any part of the forfeited estates; nor to inherit, take, make title to, by descent, purchase, limitation, devise, or other conveyance, or to have, hold, or enjoy any such estates. They were even prohibited from taking them on leases for lives or years.
issues, on any presentment, indictment, or information or action on statute, for any offence committed by Papists, in breach of such laws, the plaintiff or prosecutor may challenge any Papist returned as juror, and assign as a cause that he is a Papist, which challenge shall be allowed of!!!!1009
*“ No Papist shall be guardian unto, or have the tuition or custody of, any orphan or child under the age of twenty-one years: but the same where the person intituled to, or having the guardianship of, such child, is or shall be a Papist) shall be disposed of by chancery to some near relation of such orphan, &c. being a Protestant, to whom the estate cannot descend.
“ If any Papist shall take upon him the guardianship or tuition of any orphan or child, contrary to this act, he shall forfeit 5001, to be recovered by action of debt.1010
7" The lieutenants, &c. or the major part of them, may cause to be raised upon the Popish inhabitants, and upon every person who shall refuse to take the oath of abjuration, (which oath any justice of the peace may administer,) double the sum they should have paid by virtue of this act, in case they had been Protestants.”
+" In case such Papist shall neglect or refuse to find such sufficient man, he shall forfeit double the sum as a Protestant should for. feit, in case such Protestant should neglect to attend the service of the militia, when thereunto required, by beat of drum or sound of trumpet, as aforesaid.”2012
$ “Leases of the premises to be made to Protestants only, at the full improved rent, without any fine. Leases to or in' trust for Pa
1008 Robins, 185, 6. 1009 Idem, 459. 1010 Idem, 454. 2011 Idem, 407. 2012 Idem, 409,
Roman Catholics were prohibited, in 1702, from buying or purchasing, in their own names, or in the names of others to their use, any lands, or rents and profits out of the same, other than for a term not exceeding thirty-one years.* By a refinement of rapacity and injustice, it was enacted, that if a farm yielded a profit greater than the amount of one-third of the rent, the right to it was immediately to cease, and to pass over to the first Protestant who should discover the rate of profit!!
No Roman Catholic could be elected mayor, bailiff, sovereign, portrieff, burgomaster, recorder, sheriff, treasurer, alderman, town-clerk, burgess, common council-man, within any city, walled town, or corporation; nor be nominated, appointed, presented, or sworn, as high constable, in any barony, or half-barony; or as petty constable, in any manor, ward, parish, constablewick, or place within the kingdom: but was to be proportionably taxed to support the same.1013
Some portions of this code appear so gratuitously wicked and proAligate, that it is difficult even to conjecture what could have been the object of the miscreants by whoin they were enacted. So late as the year 1745, it was provided, that all marriages celebrated by a Roman Catholic clergyman, between two Protestants, or between a Protestant and a Roman Catholic, should be null and void to all intents and purposes, without any process, judgment, or sentence of the law whatsoever.t To what a hideous flood of licentiousness; what overwhelming immorality; what bastardizing of children; what uncertainty of inheritance, inust this atrocious law have given rise!
Justices of peace might summon any person, suspected of having been married by a Roman Catholic priest, or been present at such marriage; and if such person refused to attend, or to be examined, or to enter into recognisance to prosecute, he was liable to three , years imprisonment.1014
pists, or assigned to them, to be void, and the lessor, assignor, and lessee or assignee, accepting or occupying such lands, to forfeit treble the yearly value."1015
*“ Every Papist, after the time aforesaid, shall be disabled to purchase, either in his own name or in the name of any other, to his use or in trust for him, any manors, lands, hereditaments, or any rents or profits out of the same, or any lcases or terms thereof, other than for a tern of years not exceeding thirty-one years, whereon a rent, not less than two-thirds of the improved yearly value, at the time of making such lease, shall be reserved and made payable during such term. %1016
7“ After the first of May, 1746, every marriage celebrated by a Popish priest, between a Papist and any person who hath been, or hath professed himself or herself to be a Protestant, at any time within twelve months of such celebration of marriage, or between two Protestants, shall be null and void to all intents and purposes, without any process, judgment, or sentence of the law whatsoever. 51017
1016 Idem, 26.
1018 2 Geo. 1. xii. 1014 Robins, 389. 1017 2 Gco. II. xiii. 19.
1016 Idem, 454.
“Of the administration of lord Chesterfield, by whose suggestion the above vile act was passed, Mr. Burke gives the following account. “This man, while he was duping the credulity of the Pa. pists with fine words in private, and commending their good behaviour during a rebellion in Great Britain, as it well deserved to be commended and rewarded, was 'capable of urging penal laws against them in a speech from the throne, and of stimulating with provocatives the wearied and half-exhausted bigotry of the Parliament of Ireland. They set to work; but they were at a loss what to do; for they had already almost gone through every contrivance which could waste the vigour of their country: but, after much struggle, they produced a child of their old age, the shocking and unnatural act about marriages, which tended to finish the scheme for making the people not only two distinct parties for ever, but keeping hem as two distinct species in the same land.”1018
Dreading lest the piratical and sanguinary system they were establishing should lead to insurrection, in which they might meet the fate their tyranny deserved, the “ascendency” early determined to secure themselves from that consequence, by robbing and plundering the Catholics of their arıns;* thus in a manner tying them neck and heels, and laying them prostrate at their mercy.
The laws on this point, which was regarded as vital to the security of the tyrants, were of the most extraordinary rigour. Two justices of the peace might summon before them any Catholics, from the peer or peeress to the lowest peasant, and examine them, on oath, not merely on the subject of arms in their own possession, but oblige them to turn informers against their parents, children, friends, and neighbours ; and if they refused to appear, or, on appearing, refused to give evidence, or turn informers, peers and peeresses were subject to a penaly of three hundred pounds, for the first offence; and for the second, to imprisonment for life, and forfeiture of all their goods.!!
*“ All Papists within this kingdom of Ireland, before the 1st of March next, 'shall discover and deliver up to some justice of the peace, all their arms, armour, and ammunition, of what kind soever, in their possession ; and after that time, any two or more justices of the peace, within their respective limits, and all mayors, sheriffs, and chief officers of cities, &c. in their liberties, by themselves or their warrants, under their hands and seals, may search for, seize, or cause to be searched for and seized, and take into their custody, all such arms, &c. as shall be concealed in any house, lodging, or other places where they suspect any such to be."1019
+“ Two justices of peace, or the magistrate of any corporation, are empowered to summon before them any persons whatsoever, to tender them an oath, by which they oblige them to discover all persons who have any arms concealed, contrary to law. Their refusal or declining to appear, or, on appearing, their refusal to inform, subjects them to the severest penalties. If peers or peeresses are summoned, (for they may be summoned by the bailiff of a corporation of six cottages,) to perform this honourable service, and they refuse to inform,
2018 Parnell, 69.
1019 Robins, 448.
By this law, the best man in the land might be summoned by two justices of the peace, at the instance of the lowest scoundrel, and an oath tendered to him to inform against his nearest or dearest friend. The same oath might be tendered to him a second time, within an hour; and if he refused both times, he was, ipso facto, liable to be robbed of his goods, and subject to imprisonment for life!!
Lest there should be any scruples of conscience among the justices, which might prevent their activity in the enforcement of such a system of rapine, any magistrate who should neglect or refuse to perform the duties it imposed on him, was subject to fifty pounds penalty.*
All wise legislators justly hold, that one of their most important duties is to provide for the instruction and illumination of the people, under a conviction that public instruction and virtue, ignorance and vice grow to maturity together. But the Irish parliament doomed five-sixths of the nation, to which it was given as a curse, to perpetual and invincible igporance! To brutalize and barbarize those Helots, to plunge them into the abysses of Cimmerian darkness, they were, at one stroke, cut off from education. The law punished the man who
“ Taught the young idea how to shoot,” who assisted to remove that brutal ignorance which prepares the mind for every species of vice and crime, as severely as the man who robbed altars, burned houses, or murdered his father or mother!
This never-enough-to-be-execrated code was far worse than Draco's, which is
“ Damn'd to everlasting fame." Draco, barbarous and cruel as he was, in his sanguinary code, which punished all crimes with death, has never been accused of punishing any thing but crimes. But the worse than Draconian Irish legislature denounced banishment, and, in case of return, death, against any Catholic guilty of the offence of teaching school ; instructing children in learning, in a private house; or officiating as usher to a Protestant school-master!
the first offence is 300l. penalty; the second is premunire, that is to say, imprisonment for life, and forfeiture of all their goods. Persons of an inferior order are for the first offence fined 301. for the second, they too are subjected to premunire.”1020
* " If any mayor, justice of peace, or other officer, shall neglect, knowingly and voluntarily to do his duty in execution of this act, he shall for every such neglect, forfeit 501. to be recovered by action of debt, &c, one moiety to her majesty, &c. the other to him that will sue for the same.
+ " If any Papist shall publicly teach school, or instruct youth in learning in any private house, or shall be entertained to instruct youth, as usher or assistant to any Protestant school-master, he shall be esteemed a Popish regular clergyman, and prosecuted as such, and shall incur such penalties and forfeitures as any Popish regular convict is liable unto."1032
1020 Burke, V. 195,
1021 Robins, 459
1022 Idem, 612.
The eternal laws of humanity, imprinted on our hearts by our great Creator, command sympathy for our suffering fellow creatures, and, when in our power, the extension of relief to their miseries. The rudest savages are not insensible to the sway of this universal and sovereign law. They share their slender pittance with the distressed and suffering stranger. Christ Jesus himself, in the most emphatical language he ever used-in “ words that burn,"-denounces" everlasting fire" against those who refuse obedience to this law:
Depart from me, ye cursed! into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels! for I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not."
This divine lesson the impious and barbarous Irish legislature, with a wicked hypocrisy, which enhanced the atrocity of the deed, trampled under foot, with a pretence of propagating, in its utmost purity, the religion of that Jesus Christ, of whose precepts and maxims their laws were an undeviating violation. By those laws, if Francis Xavier, Fleury, Bossuet, Bourdaloue, Fenelon, Massillon, cardinal Pole, archbishop Carrol, bishop Cheverus, Mr. Matignon, Mr. Harding, Mr. Fleming, or Mr. Græssel, were in Ireland, and “hungry, and thirsty, and naked, and sick, and in prison,” at the last gasp of existence, for want of the common necessaries of life, the man who three times administered relief, might by law be robbed of his entire estate, real and personal, as a reward for his charity!* Can the vocabulary of execration afford terms of reproach adequate to brand the turpitude of such a system, and of its vile authors ?
Throughout the whole habitable globe, even among the most barbarous of the human race, respect and reverence for parents have been universally inculcated, except in devoted Ireland. The fifth command of the decalogue explicitly orders, Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon
the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." This is the first command with a promise of reward” for its observance; but no punishment is annexed to the violation. Deuteronomy, however, goes further, and pronounces a curse on those who even slight their parents :
“Cursed be he that setteth light by his father or mother." And Jesus Christ, the light of whose gospel the Irish legislators pretended to spread, renewed and enforced the command,
“Honour thy father and thy mother." But what was the dictate of the hideous code to prevent the growth
000000 os Any person that shall, from the first of May, knowingly conceal or entertain any such archbishop, bishops, &c. hereby required to depart out of this kingdom, or that after the said day shall come into this kingdom, shall, for the first offence, forfeit twenty pounds; for the second, double that sum ; and if he offend the third time, shall forfeit all his lands and tenements of freehold or inheritance during his life ; and also all his goods and chattels !!!!1023
1023 Robins, 452.