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The other acts of this reign relating to the Catholics, are, an act to prevent Protestants from intermarrying with Papists *, and an act to prevent them from being solicitors. † A clause was introduced in an act for the preservation of game, prohibiting Papists from being employed as gamekeepers. +
How it is possible to defend William and his ministers from the charge of having acted with perfidy towards the Catholics, it is not easy to discover.
hat they were guilty of violating the treaty no one can deny. Why did he not refuse his consent to these laws, on the ground of their being contrary to his solemn engagements to the Catholics ? He had exercised this prerogative in the case of one Scotch S, and of one English bill. || But even this extremity might have been avoided, because the law of Poynings required that every bill should be approved by the King and Council of England, be. fore it could pass the House of Commons; and if a bill was exceptionable, by withholding their approbation, a very common proceeding, it fell of course to the ground.
But if William and his ministers were guilty of perfidy towards the Catholics, his successor far outstripped him. Nor has any succeeding prince been free from the blame of having been accessary to his misconduct, in proportion as he has neglected or refused to repeal those penal laws, which are so many glaring violations of the treaty of Limerick, and a scandal to the boasted good faith of the English nation.
* 9th William III. c. 3. + 10th William III. c. 13.
$ 10th William III. c. 8. § For excluding from any public trust all such as had been concerned in the encroachments of the late reign.
Concerning free and impartial proceedings in Parliament.
On the 4th of March 1704, the royal assent was given to the Act to prevent the further growth of Popery ; being the first of those two famous acts, which have, most deservedly, been termed by Mr. Burke, the ferocious acts of Anne.
By the third clause of this act, the Popish father, though he inay have acquired his estate by descent from a long line of ancestors, or by his own purchase, is deprived of the power, in case his eldest son, or any other son, becomes a Protestant, to sell, mortgage, or otherwise dispose of it, or to leave out of it any portions or legacies.
By the 4th clause, the Popish father is debarred, under a penalty of 500l. from being a guardian to, or from having the custody of his own children ; but if the child, though ever so young, pretends to be a Protestant, it is to be taken from its own father, and put into the hands of a Protestant relation.
The 5th clause provides that no Protestant shall marry a Papist, having an estate in Ireland, either in or out of the kingdom.
The 6th clause renders Papists incapable of purchasing any manors, tenements, hereditaments, or any rents or profits arising out of the same, or of holding any lease of lives, or other lease whatever, for
any term exceeding 31 years. Even with respect to this advantage restrictions are imposed on them, one of which is, that if a farm produced a profit greater than one-third of the amount of the rent, the right in it was immediately to cease, and to pass over entirely to the first Protestant who should discover the rate of profit. The 7th clause deprives Papists of such inherit
ance, devise, gift, remainder, or trust, of any lands,
By the 10th clause, the estate of a Papist, for
By the 15th clause, no person shall be exempt from the penalties of this act, that shall not take and subscribe the oath and declaration required by this act to be taken.
By the 16th clause, all persons whatsoever who shall receive any office, civil and military, shall take and subscribe the oath and declaration required to be taken by the English act of 3d William and Mary; and also the oath of abjuration required to be taken by another English act of 1st Anne; also shall receive the sacrament. *
* Upon this clause of the bill, Bishop Burnet makes the following observations: “A clause was added (in England) which they (the Roman Catholics) hoped would hinder its being accepted in Ireland. The matter was carried on so secretly, that it was known to none but those who were at the Council, till the news of it came from Ireland, upon its being sent thither. It was hoped, by those who got this clause added to the bill, that those in Ireland, who promoted it, would be less fond of it, when it had such a weight hung to it.” -Hist. v. ii. p. 214.
This clause has since been called the Sacramental Test, the first imposed on Dissenters in Ireland. It was repealed without any opposition in the Sessions of 1782.
The 23d clause provides, that no Papist, except under particular conditions, shall dwell in Limerick or Galway.
The 24th, that no persons shall vote at elections without taking the oaths of allegiance and abjuration.
And the 25th clause, that all advowsons possessed by Papists shall be vested in Her Majesty.
The Catholics, who had submitted in silence to all the unjust transgressions of the last reign, felt it necessary, when this act was first brought before parliament, to use their utmost exertions to prevent it from passing into a law. They, however, appealed in vain to the English Cabinet to respect the solemn engagements of the treaty of Limerick, and were obliged to have recourse to a petition to the Irish parliament.
Sir Theobald Butler was heard as counsel for the petitioners, at the bar of the House of Commons, on the 22d February, 1703. He stated, " that the bill would render null and void the ar“ ticles of Limerick ; that those articles had been “ granted for the valuable consideration of the “ surrender of that garrison, at a time when the “ Catholics had the sword in their hand, and were “ in a condition to hold out much longer; and “when they had it in their power to demand and “ make such terms as might be for their own fu“ture liberty, safety, and security: that the al“ lowing of the terms contained in these articles
were highly advantageous to the government to “ which they submitted, as well for uniting the
people that were then divided, quieting and set
Iing the distractions and disorders of this mise“rable kingdom, as for the other advantages which “ the government would thereby reap in its own af.
fairs, both at home and abroad, when its enemies “ were so powerful, both by sea and land, as to ren“ der the peace and settlement of these countries “ a circumstance of great uncertainty : that these “ articles were ratified by their late Majesties, for “ themselves, their heirs, and successors, and the “public faith thereby plighted to all those com“ prised in these articles, in the most binding man“ ner it was possible for faith to be plighted, and “ than which nothing could be more sacred and “ solemn : that, therefore, to violate and break “ those articles would, on the contrary, be the “ greatest injustice possible for any one people of “ the whole world to inflict upon another, and “ contrary to both the laws of God and man.” He then proceeded to show that the clauses of the bill which take away from Catholics the right to purchase, bequeath, sell, and inherit estates, were infringements of the ed article of the treaty : that the 9th clause of the bill, imposing upon Catholics new oaths, was another manifest breach of the articles; for that, by the 9th article, no oath is to be administered to, .nor imposed upon such Catholics as should submit to government, but the oath of allegiance, appointed by an act made in England in the first year of the reign of their late Majesties; that the clauses for prohibiting Catholics from residing in Limerick or Galway, from voting at elections without taking certain new oaths, and from possessing advowsons, were likewise infringe. ments of the treaty. “ For if,” concludes Sir Theobald Butler, there was no law in force in “ the reign of Charles II. against these things, as “ there certainly was not, and if the Roman Ca“ tholics of this kingdom have not since forfeited “ their right to the laws that then were in force,