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so it being too notorious that the number of such is of late great“ ly encreased.” Removed, as we now fortunately are, out of that vortex of bigotry and fanaticism, which had the peculiar quality of rendering those who moved in it insensible of their own infection, it appears difficult to believe, that the legislature of any nation should have busied themselves in subtilties, inventions, and resolutions, to provoke, criminate, aggrieve and punish the great mass of the people, who were eminently observant of all their civil duties. Such were the resolutions of the commons in 1723,* upon which leave
3 Journ. p. 346, 2d of October, 1723. Dr. Trotter reported from the committee appoined to enquire into the most effectual means to prevent the same, that they had come to several resolutions in the matter to ihem refer. red, which he read in his place, and afterwards delivered at the table, where the same were again read, and are as follow :
1st Resolved, “ That it is the opinion of this committee, that Popery has “ greatly encreased within these few years in this kingdom, occasioned by the
many ways found out and practised by the Papists, to evade the several “ Jaws already made to prevent the further growth of Popery.
“ 2d Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that the neglect of “ several magistrates and officers of the peace, in executing the laws against " Papists, has greatly contributed to the growth of Popery.
“34 Resolved, that it is the opinion of this committee, that the recom“ mending of persons converted from the Popish religion, by which they may " be put too early into the commissions of peace, is highly prejudicial to the " Protestant interest of this kingdom.
“ 4th Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that it is highly prejudicial to the Protestant interest, and an encouragement to Popery, that
any person married to a Popish wife should bear any office or employment " under his majesty.
" 5th Resoived, That it is the opinion of this committee, that no person who "is, or shall become a convert from the Popish to the Protestant religion, " ought to be capable of any office or employment under his majesty, unless " he shall breed up all his children to the age of fourteen years to be of the “ Church of Ireland, 29 by law established.
" 6th Resolved, I hat it is the opinion of this committee, that no person that “is, or shall be converted from the Popish to the Protestant religion, be capa“ ble of any office or employment under his majesty, or practice as a barrister, " attorney, or solicitor, for the space of seven years after his conversion ; and “ unless he brings a certificate of having received the sacrament thrice in every
year during the same term.
** 7th Resolved, that it is the opinion of this committee, that no person who "is, or shall be converted from the Popish religion, ought to be deemed or s taken as 'a Protestant in any respect whatsoever, that has not already, or “shall not within a year produce a certificate of his conversion and enrol the
" 8th Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee, that notwithstand. ing the laws now in being against Popery, the number of Popish priests
and “ friars has of late years encreased in this kingdom, to the danger of the Pro“ testant religion."
The five first resolutions being severally put, the same were agreed to by the , horise nemine contradicente.
And the sixth resolution being put, the same was agreed to by the house with an amendment.
And the seventh and eighith resolutions being severally put, the same were agreed to by the house nemine contradicente.
was given to bring in heads of a bill for explaining and amending the acts to prevent the further growth of Popery and for strengthening the Protestant interest in that kingdom.... Heads of a bill were accordingly prepared with all the invective, acrimony, which infuriated fanaticism could devise : and one blushes for the humanity of an Irish House of Commons, which in satiating its lust for persecution, adopted unanimously a clause in the bill for castrating every Catholic clergy man that should be found in the realm. The bill thus surcharged with this Gothic barbarism, was presented on the 15th of November, 1723, to the lord lieutenant by the commons at the castle, and they most earnestly requested his grace to recommend the same in the most effectual manner to his majesty, humbly hoping from his majesty's goodness and his grace's zeal for his service and the Protestant interest of that kingdom, the same might be obtained to pass into a law.* It was transmitted to England, and for the honour of humanity, there suppressed with becoming indignation. The lord lieutenant, on proroguing the parliament, consoled them for the loss of their favourite bill, by at-, tributing its failure to their having brought it in at so advanced a period of the session : recommending to them again a more vigorous execution of the penal laws against the Catholics, and assuring them that he would contribute his part towards the prevention of the growing evil (of Popery), by giving proper directions, that henceforward such persons only should be put into the commission of the peace, as had distinguished themselves by their fidelity to his majesty, and by their steady adherence to the Protestant interest.
Whilst the Catholics of Ireland were in oper rebellion against their sovereign, as they were in the days of Elizabeth, whilst they were making head against Puritannical regicides in the days and in support of the unfortunate Charles, whilst they were fighting under the banners of their lawful sovereign James II. who certainly had not abdicated the throne of Ireland, they were upon some principle considered as enemies: but as from the treaty of Limerick to the accession of George I. they were guilty of no act of hostility, it became the ill judged and unjust policy of future governments, to retain the appellation of common enemy, and apply it to the great mass of the people of Ireland, for a variety of purposes, which appear 'manifest to the unbiassed observer, and unjustifiable to every person, who professes to adopt the mild and equitable principles of our constitution. A very large share of the political power and influence of Ireland had been retained by the Oliverian party, who, with strong tinctures of their original spirit, had adopted the appellation without the principles of the whigs, and were thereby enabled to keep up their political consequence, and use it to the discomfiture of their real adversaries, whom they affected to brand and rejoiced in persecuting as the common enemy : the tory party, which consisted chiefly of churchmen and Catholics though united upon political, yet divided upon religious principles : the Protestant Tories therefore imagined that by a semi-coalition with the Irish whigs, who then were chiefly Dissenters, they should the more readily keep down the possibility of a Catholic ascendency :* the English interest kept alive these
3 Journ. Com. p. 366. His grace returned the following answer.
" I hare “so much at heart a matter, which I recommended to the consideration of “parliament at the beginning of this session, that the House of Commons "may depend upon a due regard on my part to what is desired.”
† Some Irish bistorians attribute the failure of this bill to the humane in. terposition of Cardinal Fleury with Mr. Walpole. Yet surely there needed no Gallic interference for the damnation of a law of such savage turpitude.
| 3 Journ. Com. p. 389.
Although party political writers must ever be read with caution and great allowances, yet writing in the spirit of the parties and times in which they lived, they are sure directories to the future historian in tracing the origin, nature, powers, and extent of the parties, which appeared on the political scenes, it becomes his duty to represent. These elucidations might be worked up into a treatise : I shall select only some passages from known writers, in order to verify the statement of the parties in Ireland at this period, which I am called upon to submit to my readers. I resume not the merits of these opposite writers : still less do I profess to adopt their opinions. The late Lord Clare in his memorable speech on the union, which must ever be looked up to as a most precious and authentic repository of modern opinious iipon the past conduct of the British cabinet with reference to Ireland; has thus referred to the political situation of Ireland at the time we are alluding to. (p. 26.) “ The « parliament of England seem to have considered the permanent debility of " Ireland, as the best security of the British crown, and the Irish parliament to “ bave rested the security of the colony, upon maintaining a perpetual and im"passable barrier against the ancient inhabitants of the country. The executive "government was committed nominally to a viceroy, but essentially to Jords, “ justices, selected from the principal state officers of the country, who were ene • trusted with the conduct of what is called the king's business, but might “ with more propriety have been called the business of the lords justices. " The viceroy came to Ireland for a few months nly in two years, and re"" turned to England perfectly satisfied with his mission, if he did not leave " the affairs of the English government worse than he found them : and the “ lords justices in his absence were entrusted implicitly with the means of con. “ solidating an Aristocratic influence, which made them the necessary instru. “ments of the English government.” Primate Boulter, who from the year 1724 to the year 1742, was the main spring of the English politics and the instrument of the British cabinet in Ireland, gave to the Duke of Newcastle the following caution against Swift. (1 vol. p. 62, Boulton's Let.) “ The general “ report is, that Dean Swift designs for England in a little time ; and we do “not question his endeavours to misrepresent his majesty's friends here, “ wherever he finds an opportunity : but he is so known, as well as the dis" turbances he has been the fomenter of in this kingdom, that we are under "no fear of his being able to disserve any of his majesty's faithful servants, " by any thing that is known to come from him: but we could wish some eye “ were had to what he shall be attempting on your side of the water." Bub we must recollect, that this letter of the primate was dated on the 10th of different divisions and subdivisions of parties, for the ungenerous and Machiavelian purpose of dividing and governing Ireland as a
February, 1725, O. S. which was about ten weeks after Swift had written to Pope, (on the 26th of November, 1725) about Mr. Phillips, the primate's secretary, and the footing that he and his lordship were on. “ Phillips is fort “ chancellant, whether he shall turn parson or no. But all employments “ here are engaged, or in reversion. Cast wits and cast beaux have a proper “ sanctuary in the church : yet we think it a severe judgment that a fine gen“ tleman and so much the finer for hating ecclesiastics, should be a domestic * bumble retainer to an Irish prelate : he is neither secretary nor gentleman “ usher, yet serveth in both capacities. He hath published several reasons “ why he never came to see me: but the best is, I have not waited on his “ lordship.” Swift ever supported the natural interests of Ireland both against the Dissenters and whig party, who in his ideas endeavoured to monopolize the whole political influence of the country, and against the power of the British cabinet, whose system it was to keep Ireland in a state of perpetual bond. age and subserviency to the mere nod of the conqueror. Therefore,” said he in bis State of Ireland, " It is too well known, that we are forced to obey * some laws, we never consented to; which is a condition I must not call by its “ true uncontrolled name, for fear of Lord Chief Justice Witshed's ghost " with bis libertas et natale solum written for a motto on his coach, at it stood " at the door of the court, whilst he was perjuring himself to betray both.” Swift rendered himself particularly obnoxious to government about this time, by publishing his Drapier's Letters, and other patriotic works in defence of his oppressed country, but especially for his proposal for the universal use of Irish manufactures, in clothes and furniture of houses, utterly rejecting and renouncing every thing wearable, that came from England ; on account of which publication, a prosecution was set on foot against Waters the printer, by the express command of the lord lieutenant, who sent to the Lord Chief Justice Witshed before the trial, informing him, that a most seditious, factious, and virulent libel had been published, with a design of setting the two kingdoms at variance, and therefore that the printer should be prosecuted with all the severity of the law. The lord chief justice's zeal on such an occasion wanted no spur : however he outran his commission, by indecently declaring towards the commencement of the trial, that the author's intention was to bring in the pretender. Government had offered a reward of 3001. for the discovery of the author of these letters : but so popular and interesting to Ireland was the sub. ject of them, that no one was found base enough to betray him : which firmness in the cause brought on the prosecution of the printer. In Ireland more than elsewhere does a jury seize the spirit of the day. Notwithstanding they had found their verdict not guilty, yet so determinately was the chief justice bent upon procuring a verdict for the crown, that he kept the jury out eleven hours, and sent them nine times out of court, until at last be wearied them into a special verdict. This appears fully confirmed by one of the Primate's letters to the Dake of Newcastle, (1 vol. p. 112) and accounts for his lordship’s anxiety to be removed to the common pleas, where he would be placed out of the occasion of executing again such commands of government. “My “ Lord Chief Justice Witshed has been with me to desire he may be recom" mended to succeed Lord Chief Justice Wyndham. He represents that he " has with great zeal and fidelity served his majesty, and made himself many " enemies by so doing, and would hope for this favour as a reward of his ser “vices. I must do him the justice to say, that he has certainly served his "majesty with great zeal and affection, and has drawn on himself the anger " of the Jacubites so doing, and other discontented persons here, by dis. " countenancing seditious writings in the affair of the balfpence." Upon the death of Witslied August 1727, the primate's communications with Lord Carteret, then lord lieutenant, lay open to public view, the nature of the English interest, and the principles by wbich it was supported in Ireland. “I
conquered people. The Catholics broken down by oppression scarcely claimed their rights of existence, and were occasionally made the passive instruments of the three other parties according to the exigencies of their several temporary projects: and were too often made objects of new rigour and persecution, for the sole purpose of withdrawing the attention of their opponents from measures, which the particular parties wished to carry. Several measures of the British-cabinet with reference to Ireland, immediately tended to convince the whole of the Irish nation, that the prosperity, welfare, and felicity of that kingdom, had but little sway, in determining their conduct towards it. Hence the Tory party, which still persisted in their old princi. ples to oppose the Whig administration, being joined by those,
“must take this occasion to press your excellency that his place may be filled “from England. I can assure your lordship, that we have by experience found “ the want of two English judges in the privy council, since the removal of
my lord chancellor to his present post: and I am confident, where there is “ the least shew of an affair between England and Ireland, or where there is “ need of impartiality between any contending parties, that may be before the “ council, we shall be in the last distress, if this vacancy be not filled from • England.” (1 vol. p. 194.) And in a letter of the same date to the Duke of Newcastle, (p. 195) he says : “ we have found by experience since the lord “chief buron has been the only Englishman amongst the three chief judges, “ that things have gone very heavy in the privy council here. When any thing " is transacting in council, that can be thought to be for the advantage of “ England, or where any person of consideration here may be offended, the “ best we can hope for from a native of this place is, that he will stay away from “ council, instead of promoting the king's service by his presence and debat.
As the patronage of Ireland as well as England rested with the crown, no won. der, that the English interest acquired and so long kept its ascendency over alt the other parties : and it appears from this prelate's letters, how far it was sys. tematically applied to that intent. So said he to his grace of Newcastle on the 16th of November, 1725 : “ I am very sorry, that I must send your grace word, “ that yesterday, the discontented carried every thing before them, and have “ falsely stated the debt of the nation, and (in effect) closed the supply.... “ Great pains bave been taken by my lord lieutenant and by all his majesty's “ servants and friends of consequence, to bring the members to reason, and “ much has been said in the house in debates on these occasions, on the side “ of his majesty's service. There wants no accident here to furnish a bottom “ of popularity, every one having it always in his power to grow popular, by “ setting up for the Irish in opposition to the English interest. And there is “ no doubt, but some occasion of things going as they have, has been an un“ willingness in too many to see an English administration well established “ here: and an intention to make all the English already here, uneasy, and to “ deter others from coming hither. But if those, who have places here, and “ yet have joined in the late measures, are remembered after the sessions ; " and if nobody finds his account in having headed the opposition made now * to his majesty's service, I do not doubt but the face of affairs here will “gradually alter, and we may hope the next session will be more easy and * successful.” This prelate's letters superabound with the most impressive importunities to all the members of the British cabinet, that none but English. men should be put into the great places in Ireland in future. A system of political intrigue most injurious to Ireland, is the burthen of his whole cor. respondence.