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The following extract is taken from “Tracts on the Popery Laws” in the 9th Volume of Mr. Burke's works, which was first published in 1812, four years after the first edition of this history was published. It is here inserted as being a most conclusive corroboration of the opinion given in this history upon the treaty of Limerick, and as also being an unanswerable refutation of the arguments contained in the pamphlets of late Arthur Browne, Esq., and Doctor Duigenan.
“ It will now be seen that, even if these Popery laws could “ be supposed agreeable to those of Nature in these particulars, “ on another and almost as strong a principle they are yet un“ just, as being contrary to positive compact, and the public « faith most solemnly plighted. On the surrender of Limerick, « and some other Irish garrisons, in the war of the revolution, “ the lords justices of Ireland, and the commander in chief of “ the King's forces, signed a capitulation with the Irish, which “ was afterwards ratified by the King himself, by Inspeximus “ under the great seal of England. It contains some public “ articles relative to the whole body of the Roman Catholics in " that kingdom, and some with regard to the security of the
greater part of the inhabitants of five counties. What the “ latter were, or in what manner they were observed, is at this
day of much less public concern. The former are two, the « 1st and the 9th. The first is of this tenour. The Roman “Catholics of this kingdom (Ireland) shall enjoy such pri“ vileges, in the exercise of their religion, as are consistent
with the laws of Ireland, or as they did enjoy in the reign of • King Charles IId. : and their Majesties, as soon as their af“ fairs will permit them to summon a parliament in this kingdom, “ will endeavour to procure the said Roman Catholics such “ further security in that particular as may preserve them from
any disturbance on account of their religion. The 9th article " is to this effect. The oath to be administered to such Roman “ Catholics, as submit to their Majesties' government, shall be " the oath aforesaid, and no other ; viz. the oath of allegiance “ made by act of parliament in England, in the first year of “their then Majesties; as required by the second of the articles “ of Limerick. Compare this latter article with the Penal Laws, “ as they are stated in the 2d chapter, and judge whether they
seem to be the public acts of the same power, and observe “whether other oaths are tendered to them, and under what penalties.
Compare the former with the same laws, from the “ beginning to the end; and judge whether the Roman Catho“ lics have been preserved, agreeably to the sense of the article, “ from any disturbance upon account of their religion; or rather, “ whether on that account there is a single right of Nature, or “ benefit of society, which has not been 'either totally taken “ away or considerably impaired.
“ But it is said, that the legislature was not bound by this ar“ ticle, as it has never been ratified in parliament. I do admit, “ that it never had that sanction, and that the parliament was “ under no obligation to ratify these articles by any express act “ of theirs. But still I am at a loss how they came to be the “ less valid, on the principles of our constitution, by being with“out that sanction. They certainly bound the King and his
successors. The words of the article do this; or they do “nothing; and so far as the crown had a share in passing those
acts, the public faith was unquestionably broken. But the “ constitution will warrant us in going a great deal further, and “ in affirming that a treaty executed by the crown, and contra
dictory of no preceding law, is full as binding on the whole “ body of the nation, as if it had twenty times received the “ sanction of Parliament; because the very same constitution, “ which has given to the houses of parliament their definite authority, has also left in the crown the trust of making peace, consequence, and much the best consequence
pre“ rogative of making war. If the peace was ill made, my Lord “ Galway, Coningsby, and Porter, who signed it, were responsi“ ble; because they were subject to the community. But its
own contracts are not subject to it. It is subject to them; " and the compact of the King acting constitutionally was the
compact of the nation.
“ Observe what monstrous consequences would result from a “ contrary position. A foreign enemy has entered, or a strong “ domestic one has arisen in the nation. In such events the “ circumstances may be, and often have been, such, that a par“ liament cannot sit. This was precisely the case in that re«
" belli on in Ireland.' It will be admitted, also, that their
may be so great, as to make it very prudent to treat with them, “ in order to save effusion of blood, perhaps to save the nation.
Now, could such a treaty be at all made, if your enemies, or “ rebels, were fully persuaded that, in these times of confusion, “ there was no authority in the State, which could hold out to " them an inviolable pledge for their future security ; but that “ there lurked in the constitution a dormant but irresistible
power, who would not think itself bound by the ordinary sub“sisting and contracting authority, but might rescind its acts “ and obligations at pleasure? This would be a doctrine made “ to perpetuate and exasperate war: and, on that principle, it
directly impugns the law of nations, which is built upon this
principle, that war should be softened as much as possible, “ and that it should cease as soon as possible, between contend
ing parties and communities. The King has a power to par“ don individuals. If the King holds out his faith to a robber “ to come in on a promise of pardon, of life and estate, and, in “ all respects, of a full indemnity, shall the parliament say, that “ he must, nevertheless, be executed, that his estate must be
forfeited, or that he shall be abridged of any of the privileges, “ which he before held as a subject? Nobody will affirm it. In “ such a case, the breach of faith would not only be on the part “ of the King, who assented to such an act, but on the part of “ the parliament, who made it. As the King represents the “ whole contracting capacity of the nation, so far as his prero"gative (unlimited, as I said before, by any precedent law) can extend, he acts as the national procurator on all such occa“ sions. What is true of a robber is true of a rebel ; and what " is true of one robber or rebel, is as true, and it is a much more “important truth, of one hundred thousand.
“ To urge this part of the argument further is, indeed, I fear, “ not necessary for two reasons. First, that it seems tolérably “ evident in itself; and next, that there is but too much ground “ to apprehend that the actual ratification of parliament would “ in the then temper of parties, have proved but a very slight “ and trivial security. Of this there is a very strong example “ in the history of those very articles. For, though the parlia“ment omitted in the reign of King William to ratify the first “ and most general of them, they did actually confirm the second “ and more limited, that which related to the security of the in“ habitants of those five counties, which were in arms when the
treaty was made."*
* Burke's Works, vol. ix. p. 377.
POPULATION OF IRELAND.
CAPTAIN South, one of the Commissioners of the Revenue in Ireland, had a good opportunity of acquiring accurate information concerning the population, from its being his business to carry into operation the act for collecting a Poll Tax. He made the population, in the year 1695, to amount to 1,034,102. (See New Abridgement of Philosophical Transactions, vol. iv. p. 482.)
It appears from the population returns, printed by the House of Commons in 1824, that in the year 1792, Dr. Beaufort computed the population of Ireland to be 4,088,226. (See p. 7.) This calculation is here selected in preference to others, because of the well-known talents and industry of Dr. Beaufort, and of the opportunities he had of attaining accurate information while preparing his Map of Ireland.
From these statements it seems that the population of Ireland was quadrupled in the 97 years from 1695 to 1792.
The census of 1821 makes the population 6,801,827. (See Population Returns, p. 7.) But, as in every instance in which an actual enumeration of the people of a district has since been made, and several have been made, the returns of 1821 have turned out to be much below the exact numbers, it may
be stated, with confidence, that the actual amount of the population in 1821 was not less than 7,000,000.
The increase from 4,000,000 in 1792, to 7,000,000 in 1821, shows a rate of accumulation, in round numbers, of 25,000 souls on each million per annum, without taking into the calculation the annual increase on each additional 25,000; that is, a rate of increase of 1,000,000 a year for (say) 30 years, which makes an increase of 3,000,000 from 1791 to 1821, and the total population in 1821, 7,000,000.
This rate of increase of 25,000 per million per annum, on a population of 7,000,000, will make an annual increase of 175,000 souls a year; which annual increase, for four years since 1821, will make the present amount of population 7,700,000.
Proportion of Catholics to Protestants. The following statement has been made from materials, the