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great seal for receiving voluntary subscriptions in order to ès. tablish a national bank for throwing into circulation a quantity of paper, without money, trade or manufactures to support it: and in the same session of parliament, the further resolutions of the same commoners and their address to the throne, that such an establishment would be greatly prejudicial to his majesty's service and of most dangerous and pernicious consequence to the welfare and prosperity of the nation.* Under the like impression of remediless calamity did the commons resolve, though they never acted up to their resolution, that public granaries would greatly contribute to the encreasing of tillage and providing against such wants, as had frequently befallen the people of that kingdom, unless proper precautions should be taken against so great a calamity.
Lord Carteret's administration lasted from 1725 to 1731, and some have extolled his leniency to the indigent Catholics during this period, in discountenancing the rigorous execution of the penal laws against them. In that excess of national calamity, he may have had the policy not publicly to aggravate their evils by religious persecution. A real friend to Ireland could not have coalesced with Primatę Boulter in that systematic support of the English interest ; for that was a system of dividing Ireland within itself.t Fearful of an effectual opposition to a measure of such unjust severity, though of the highest political import, not a syllable in the speech from the throne could bear an allusion to it: no heads of any bill transmitted imported any new penal law against the Catholics : on the contrary, the lord lieutenant's speech recommended expressly the consideration of such laws as might be necessary to be made for the encouragement of manufactures and the employment of the poor ; but the enforcing the execution of those for preventing Popish priests and regulars from coming into the kingdom ; from which the nation must evidently have been convinced, that no new penal law was intended to be passed in that session against the great body of the Irish people : and the more especially, as now for the first time the lord lieutenant spoke of " fthe gracious instances of his majesty's concern “ for the happiness of his people, and the good opinion he had
3 Journ. Com. p. 289. + This is verified by the primate's words in his letter to the Duke of Newcastle on the 19th of January, 1724: “ I find by my own and others'enquiries, “ that the people of every religion, country, and party here are alike set against • Wood's halfpence, and that their agreement in this has had a very unhappy “ influence on the state of this nation by bringing on intimacies between Papists “ and Jacobites, and the Whigs, who before had no correspondence with them : “ so that 'tis questioned whether (if there were occasion) justices of the peace ® could be found, who would be strict in disarming Papists."
# 3 Journ. Com. p. 463.
“ always had of the loyalty and affection of his subjects of “ Ireland;” without the invidious restriction of his majesty's protection, grace and favour to his Protestant subjects.
The division, which the Roman Catholics’ address occasioned in that body, was by no means into the old party-distinction of Whig and Tory; it was formed upon entirely new principles arising out of the then peculiar circumstances of their country.* A great part of that body began then to consider themselves Irish-men, as well as Irish Catholics ; though deprived of most of the civil rights, which their Protestant brethren enjoyed, they sympathized with them in their efforts to preserve the rights of Ireland, and in defiance of religious differences they now began to make civil liberty a common cause with their Protestant brethren. This novel coalition between Protestants and Catholics, in support and defence of the interest of Ireland, became formidably alarming to that party, whose sole mission was to keep up an English interest in that kingdom. Government foresaw the necessary progress of this native coalition against the English interest, and at one blow put an end to the political existence of at least four fifths of the nation by depriving them of the noblest birthright and invaluable privilege of the subject.t Thus without any annunciation of such intention, without any notice to any of the parties interested, without even a charge or accusation of guilt, by the unexpected introduction of a clause into a bill, the title of which denounced no further severity against the Roman Catholics, was a vital stab given to the constitutional rights of the bulk of the people of Ireland. Sect. VII.“ And for the better “ preventing Papists from voting in elections, be it further enact“ed by the authority aforesaid, that no Papist, though not con« vict, shall be entitled or admitted to vote at the election of any “member to serve in parliament as knight, citizen, or burgess,
or the election of any magistrate for any city or other town
corporate ; any law, statute or usage to the contrary notwith“standing.". This truly sweeping clause at once brushed off four fifths of the people of Ireland from any representation in parliament: it was inserted by way of amendment without notice, without debate, without council; thus did the commons sign
• Of these principles, Primate Boulter appears to have been fearfully apprehensive, when he said, • 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.” (Letter to the Duke of Newcastle, 1 vol. p. 54.)
† Thus did Lord Chief Justice Holt usually call the elective franchise. I have adhered to this proportion of Protestants and Catholics, because Primate Boulter in this very year arowed to the Archbishop of Canterbury (1 vol. p. 210.) “There are probably in this kingdom five Papists at least to one Protest, the death-warrant of four fifths of their constituents, whose voices had given them their legislative existence.*
The two grand objects, which engrossed the exclusive attentions of Primate Boulter, who might properly be termed the English minister in Ireland, were doing good in the Church and supporting the English interest, “ which said his grace to the
* In the debate upon the question of readmitting the Catholics to the elective franchise in the Irish house of Commons on the 4th of February, 1793, Mr. Stanley, in reply to an envenomed Philippic of one of the two, who opposed the bill against the body and principles of the Catholics, in which he said that they had been prohibited to vote at a much earlier period by the act of Ann, which had annexed the oaths of allegiance and abjuration to the exercise of their elective franchise, observed, that this was an additional argument against the policy of the act of George II. for if those oaths “were univer
sally taken by Catholic voters during the reign of Queen Ann and George I. “to qualify them to exercise their franchise, as it is well known it was the “ fact, their acquiescence and taking these oaths was the strongest test they “could give of their attachment to the state, and should have entitled them to “the confidence of the nation : and therefore it is clear they were not excluded " from voting, nor was it intended they should be by those oaths, for it was “ well known, that the Catholics voted in the election of that very parliament of “ George II. which afterwards disfranchised them.” The learned member, from the general dearth of historical documents, and probably from a designed sup. pression of facts in this instance, was obliged to resort to the traditionary reports of that act to elucidate the history of its passing: “ It was said that “ the Catholics having by their interest voted Lord Dunkellin out of the coun
ty of Galway, returned his opponent. Lord Dunkellin had influence enough “ with the minister of that day, to introduce that clause depriving the Catho. " lics of their franchise into the act of George II.” He himself discredited the rumour, because he said that he had discovered, that there was no Lord Dunkellin of that day capable of being a candidate for the county of Galway. Unwritten reports of such transactions are not simply to be relied on; but when they are fairly canvassed in all their bearings upon facts, which are prov. ed by undeniable documents, they often help mainly to the elucidation of the history of those times. The interest of the Clanrickarde family has been al. ways considered to carry the county of Galway, and if by the exertion of the Catholics, another person had been returned, it was very natural that Lord Clanrickarde and his son Lord Dunkellin who had been called up to the House of Lords in 1710, should have resented it, and used their endeavours with the minister of the day (i. e. Primate Boulter) to punish and revenge themselves of the Catholics, by whose influence in the late election the interest of that noble family had been defeated. They were the first Protestants of their family, and then supporters of the English interest : strong reasons for the Catholics not supporting their interest in the county election ; strong rea. sons for the primale's crushing their and all the Catholics power to oppose the English interest in future: However inaccurate the report might have been in confounding the person of Lord Dunkellin with the interest of Portumna, the circumstances which are notorious all combine to prove the re. maining part of the report to be strictly true : namely, that the disfranchising clause was introduced by way of amendment, through ministerial influence for a particular purpose and unavowed ends. On one and the same day (9th of February, 1727,) Dr. Trotter reported from the committee of the whole house that they had gone through and agreed to the bill with some amendments,(viz. the disfranchising clause) which were also read and agreed to, and Dr. Trotter was directed to attend the lord lieutenant with the said heads of the bill to be transmitted into Great Britain in due form. 3 Fourn. Com. p. 522.
Archbishop of Canterbury” labours under great disadvantages in this country.* This is little to be wondered at, when it is considered that the bulk of the nation was not of the established Church,t nor in the occasion of participating of any of the patronage of the English interest: they were therefore estranged from any prepossessions in the favour of these two objects : their miseries were alleviated by no substitution of favour or indulgence. The stagnation of trade and want of employment in the manufactures, in part occasioned and in part aggravated the scarcity of the years 1728 and 1729. The first session of the parliament under George II. which ended in May, 1728, went over without opposition: insomuch that the lord lieutenant, in closing the session took an opportunity of observing, I that all the public bills transmitted from thence had been returned under the great seal of Great Britain; which distinguishing instance of his majesty's regard for the parliament of Ireland, was one of the happy effects of that remarkable application and unanimity, which had appeared in all their proceedings.
It is evident, that at this period Ireland was entirely ruled by the principles of an English interest: Primate Boulter who directed and supported that interest, admits that the Catholics were then in the proportion of five to one Protestant: but they were generally poor and indigent, consequently the more sensible to the national wants and calamities. So far then was this great mass of the Irish people from being soothed under the general suffering, that they were surprised into the forfeiture of their elective franchise, and an act was made for $preventing Papists practising as solicitors; which was the only branch of the law, they were then permitted to practise. In order to draw the public mind from the consideration of this new penal rigour imposed upon the Catholics in this hour of national calamity, the lord lieutenant set forth in the most glowing terms of congratulatory solace,“ * his majesty's gracious condescension in “ departing from his own right by lessening his hereditary re
*1 Vol. p. 175. “ But (said he) the services I can do will be much lessen"ed, if I am not supported in my station."
t i Vol. p. 205. The primate was indefatigable in his efforts to mend the “ state of the Church, by getting more glebes, churches, and chapels of eases " that we may in time have churches and resident ministers to answer our “ wants, for at present many of our people go off to the Papists or Presbyte“ rians for want of churches to repair to.” And p. 223, " For want of which, “ instead of getting ground of the Papists, we must lose to them, as in fact we “ do in many places,
the descendants of Cromwell's officers and soldiers here being gone off to Popery.". * 3 Journ. Com. p. 570.
Whilst this bill was pending, some Catholics of Dublin and Cork had set on foot a subscription to defray the expences of raising an opposition to it : when one Hennesy, an interdicted priest, gave information, that this collection was made for the purpose of bringing in Popery and the Pretender. Upon which the papers of these gentlemen were seized and submitted to the inspection of the House of Commons: and it appears from their printed report, that the whole sum collected had not exceeiled 51.: the committee however resolved, that it appeared to them, that under colour of opposing hearls of bills, great sums of money bad been collected and raised and a fund established by the Popish inhabitants of the kingdom, through the influence of their clergy, highly detrimental to the Protestant interest; and of imminent danger to the present happy establishment: and therefore resolved further, that an humble address should be presented to the lord lieutenant to issue bis proclamation to
venue for the ease of his subjects and encouragement of trade, “ which shewed his majesty's concern for the welfare and hap“piness of the kingdom, as well as many other signal marks of “ his majesty's goodness, that must evince them, that his ma
jesty had nothing more at heart, than the interest and prospe
rity of his people.” He then enumerated or alluded to the most popular acts passed in the session, as the foundation laid for the encrease of tillage so necessary in the country, the new advantages given for the improvement of the linen manufactory, the care taken for regulating the assize of bread, the establishing a fund for the work-house, and for employing the poor in the populous city of Dublin, the relief given to unfortunate debtors, the regulations made for future elections (by abolishing the right of voting in four fifths of the nation), the reducing the parliamentary privileges of the members for the ease and benefit of their fellow subjects, and those other excellent laws then passed for erecting churches where they were most wanted, for the maintenance of the clergy, and for preserving and strengthening the Protestant interest of that kingdom.
In the course of this session two instances occurred which strongly prove how far the English and Protestant interests were identifiedf in the words and actions of the Irish government.
all magistrates to put the laws against Popery into execution. Gur. St. of the Catholic of Ireland, p. 257. This circumstance goes to prove, that the clause for disfranchising the whole body of Catholics was not in the heads of the bill, or it is more than probable, that they would have instituted a collection to oppose a bill, that affected every individual of the body in so important a point, rather than a bill, which could not have affected threescore of that description:
3 Journ. Com. p. 570. + Primate Boulter in giving an account of the session to the Duke of New. castle, Uhree days after it closed (1 vol. p. 242), says, “ As my lord lieutenant " did his part towards procuring a quiet session of parliament, so I must do " that justice to the rest of the English in power here to say, that we were not “ in the least wanting in our sereral stations to promote the same good.” And before the session was over, in giving an account of the opposition to the prividege bill, the primate says : “ the greatness of the opposition was owing to the “management of the Bishop of Elphin (Theophilus Bolton promoted to the “ Sre of Cashell in 1729) who put himself at the head of those lords and others, • ho constantly oppose the government business here, and by misrepresen" tations drew in some other lords of no ill intention to engage their word and " honour to each other to throw out the bill. His view no doubt was to make " himself considerable enougli by being at the head of this strength to be bought