and its dependencies, continued.
was one united nation.
The landed aris-
tocracy was the sovereign, was the legislature, was the people, was the state.
The separate influence of each of the great component parts of English society may be observed in the British
dominions outside of Great Britain
From the wrecks of the empire of the Great Mogul, a monopolizing company of English merchants had gained dominion in the East
; with factories, subject provinces, and territorial revenues on the coast of Malabar, in the Carnatic
, and on the Ganges
They despised the rivalry of France
, whose East India Company was hopelessly ruined, and whose feeble factories were in a state of confessed inferiority;—and with eager zeal they pushed forward their victories, openly avowing gain as the sole end of their alliances and their trade, of their warfare and their civil rule.
, the middling class, chiefly rural people, with a few from the towns of England
founded colonies in the forms of liberty; and them-
selves owned and cultivated the soil.
, whose government was proposed as a model for the British
colonies, and whose history is from this time intimately connected with the course of events in America
, had been seized by the English
The island was half as large as England
, with a still milder climate, and a more fertile soil.
From the midst of its wild mountain scenery in the west gushed numerous rivers, fed by the rains which the sea breeze made frequent.
These, now forming bogs and morasses, now expanding into beautiful lakes, now rushing with copious volume and swift descent, offered along their courses waterpower without limit, and near the sea formed deep and safe harbors.
The rich limestone plains under the cloudy sky were thickly covered with luxuriant grasses, whose unequalled verdure vied in color with the emerald.
Centuries before the Christian era, the beautiful region had been occupied by men of one of the Celtic
tribes, who had also colonized the Highlands of Scotland
, who in the eighth century planted commercial towns on its sea coast, were too few to maintain separate municipalities.
The old inhabitants had been converted to Christianity by apostles of the purest fame, and abounded in churches and cathedrals, in a learned, liberal, and numerous clergy.
Their civil government was an aristocratic confederacy1
of septs or families and their respective chiefs; and the remote land seemed set
apart by nature as the safe abode of an opulent,
united and happy people.
In the reign of Henry the Second of England
, and in his name, English barons and adventurers invaded Ireland
; and before the end of the thirteenth century its soil was parcelled out among ten English families.
As the occupation became confirmed, the English
system of laws was continued to the English
colonists living within the pale which comprised the four counties of Dublin
, and Kildare
In the Irish parliament, framed ostensibly after the model of the English
constitution, no Irishman could hold a seat: it represented the intruders only, who had come to possess themselves of the land of the natives, now quarrelling among themselves about the spoils, now rebelling against England
, but always united against the Irish.
When Magna Charta
was granted at Runnymede
, it became also the possession and birthright of the Norman inhabitants of Ireland
; but to the ‘mere Irish
’ its benefits were not extended, except by special charters of enfranchisement or denization, of which the sale furnished a ready means of exaction.
The oligarchy of conquerors in the process of time began to amalgamate with the Irish; they had the same religion; they inclined to adopt their language, dress, and manners; and to speak for the rights of Ireland
more warmly than the Irish themselves.
To counteract this tendency of ‘the degenerate English
,’ laws were enacted so that the Anglo-Irish could not intermarry with the Celts, nor permit them to graze their lands, nor present them to benefices, nor receive them into religious houses, nor entertain their bards.
The mere Irish
were considered as out of the king's allegiance; in
war they were accounted rebels; in peace, the statute
book called them Irish enemies; and to kill one of them was adjudged no felony.
During the long civil wars in England
, English power declined in Ireland
To recover its subordination, in the year 1495, the tenth after the union of the Roses, the famous statute of Drogheda
known as Poyning's Law, from the name of the Lord Deputy
who obtained its enactment, reserved the initiative in legislation to the crown of England
No parliament could from that time ‘be holden in Ireland
till the king's lieutenant should certify to the king, under the great seal of the land, the causes and considerations, and all such acts as it seems to them ought to be passed thereon, and such be affirmed by the king and his council, and his license to summon a parliament be obtained.’
Such remained the rule of Irish parliaments,3
and began to be regarded as a good precedent for America
The change in the relations of England
to the See of Rome
, at the time of the reform, served to amalgamate the Celtic Irish
and the Anglo-Norman Irish
; for the Catholic
lords within the pale, as well as Catholic Ireland
, adhered to their ancient religion.
resisted the act of supremacy; and the accession of Queen Elizabeth brought the struggle to a crisis.
She established the Protestant Episcopal Church by an act of what was called an Irish parliament, in which the Celtic Irish
had no part, and English retainers, chosen from select counties and boroughs and new boroughs made for the occasion,
held the ascendant over the Anglo-Norman Irish
The laws of supremacy and uniformity were adopted, in the words of the English
statutes; the common prayer was appointed instead of mass, and was to be read in the English
language, or, where that was not known, in the Latin
The Anglican prelates and priests, divided from the Irish by the insuperable barrier of language, were quartered upon the land, shepherds without sheep, pastors without people; strangers to the inhabitants, wanting not them but theirs.
The churches went to ruin; the benefices fell to men who were held as foreigners and heretics, and who had no care for the Irish, but to compel them to pay tithes.4
The inferior clergy were men of no parts or erudition, and were as immoral as they were illiterate.5
No pains were taken to make converts, except by penal laws; and the Norman-Irish and Celtic-Irish now became nearer to one another, drawn by common sorrows, as well as by a common faith; for ‘the people of that country's birth, of all degrees, were papists, body and soul.’6
The Anglican church in Ireland
represented the English
Wild and incoherent attempts at self-defence against relentless oppression were followed by the desolation of large tracts of country, new confiscations of land, and a new colonial garrison in the train of the English
Even the use of parliaments was suspended for seven and twenty years. The accession of James the First, with the counsels
, seemed to promise Ireland
of its woes; for the pale was broken down; and when the king, after a long interval, convened a parliament, it stood for the whole island.
But in the first place, the law tolerated only the Protestant worship; and when colonies were planted on lands of six counties in Ulster
escheated to the crown, the planters were chiefly Presbyterians from Scotland
, than whom none more deeply hated the Catholic
And next the war of chicane succeeded to the war of arms and hostile statutes.
Ecclesiastical courts wronged conscience; soldiers practised extortions; the civil courts took away lands.
Instead of adventurers despoiling the old inhabitants by the sword, there came up discoverers, who made a scandalous traffic of pleading the king's title against the possessors of estates to force them to grievous compositions,7
or to effect the total extinction of the interests of the natives in their own soil.8
This species of subtle ravage, continued with systematic iniquity in the next reign, and carried to the last excess of perfidy, oppression and insolence, inspired a dread of extirpation, and kindled the flames of the rising of 1641.
To suppress this rebellion, when it had assumed the form of organized resistance, large forfeitures of lands were promised to those who should aid in reducing the island.
had successively against them, the party of the king, the Puritan
parliament of England, the Scotch Presbyterians
among themselves, the fierce, relentless energy of Cromwell
, a unanimity of
hatred, quickened by religious bigotry; greediness
after confiscated estates, and the pride of power in the Protestant interest.
Modern History has no parallel9
for the sufferings of the Irish nation from 1641 to 1660.
At the restoration of Charles II.
a declaration of settlement confirmed even the escheats of land, decreed by the republican party for the loyalty of their owners to the crown.
It is the opinion of an English historian,10
that ‘upon the whole result the Irish Catholics
, having previously held about two-thirds of the kingdom, lost more than one-half of their possessions by forfeitures on account of their rebellion. * * * They were diminished also by much more than one-third through the calamities of that period.’
Even the favor of James II.
wrought the Catholic Irish
nothing but evil, for they shared his defeat; and after their vain attempt to make of Ireland
his independent place of refuge, and a gallant resistance, extending through a war of three years, the Irish at Limerick
capitulated to the new dynasty, obtaining the royal promise of security of worship to the Roman Catholics
, and the continued possession of their estates, free from all outlawries or forfeitures.
Of these articles, the first was totally disregarded; the second was evaded.
New forfeitures followed to the extent of more than a million of acres; and at the close of the seventeenth century, the native Irish
, with the Anglo-Irish Catholics
, possessed not more than a seventh of their own island.
The maxims on which the government of Ireland
was administered by Protestant England
after the re-
volution of 1688, brought about the relations by which that country and our own reciprocally affected each other's destiny: Ireland
assisting to people America, and America
to redeem Ireland
The inhabitants of Ireland
were four parts11
in five, certainly more than two parts in three,12
Religion established three separate nationalities; the Anglican Churchmen
, constituting nearly a tenth of the population; the Presbyterians, chiefly Scotch-Irish
; and the Catholic
population, which was a mixture of the old Celtic race, the untraceable remains of the few Danish
settlers, and the Normans and first colonies of the English
In settling the government, England
intrusted it exclusively to those of ‘the English
colony,’ who were members of its own church; so that the little minority ruled the island.
To facilitate this, new boroughs were created; and wretched tenants, where not disfranchised, were so coerced in their votes at elections, that two-thirds of the Irish House of Commons were the nominees of the large Protestant proprietors of the land.
In addition to this, an act of the English parliament rehearsed the dangers to be apprehended from the presence of popish recusants in the Irish parliament, and 13
required of every member the new oaths of allegiance
and supremacy and the declaration against transubstantiation.14
But not only were Roman Catholics exeluded from seats in both branches of the legislature; a series of enactments, the fruit of relentless perseverance, gradually excluded ‘papists’ from having any votes in the election of members to serve in parliament.15
The Catholic Irish, being disfranchised, one enactment pursued them after another till they suffered under a universal, unmitigated, indispensable, exceptionless disqualification.16
In the courts of law, they could not gain a place on the bench, nor act as a barrister, or attorney, or solicitor,17
nor be employed even as a hired clerk, nor sit on a grand jury, nor serve as a sheriff or a justice of the peace, nor hold even the lowest civil office of trust and profit, nor have any privilege in a town corporate, nor be a freeman of such corporation, nor vote at a vestry.
If papists would trade and work, they must do it even in their native towns as aliens.
They were expressly forbidden to take more than two apprentices in whatever employment, except in the linen manufacture only.
A Catholic might not marry a Protestant18
—the priest who should celebrate such a marriage was to be hanged;19
nor be a guardian to any child, nor educate his own child, if the mother declared herself a Protestant;
or even if his own child, however young, should
profess to be a Protestant.
None but those who conformed to the established church were admitted to study at the universities, nor could degrees be obtained but by those who had taken all the tests, oaths, and declarations.
No Protestant in Ireland
might instruct a papist.20
Papists could not supply their want by academies and schools of their own;21
for a Catholic to teach, even in a private family or as usher to a Protestant, was a felony, punishable by imprisonment, exile, or death.
Thus ‘papists’ were excluded from all opportunity of education at home, except by stealth and in violation of law. It might be thought that schools abroad were open to them; but, by a statute of King William,22
to be educated in any foreign Catholic school was an ‘unalterable and perpetual outlawry.’23
The child sent abroad for education, no matter of how tender an age, or himself how innocent, could never after sue in law or equity, or be guardian, executor, or administrator, or receive any legacy or deed of gift; he forfeited all his goods and chattels, and forfeited for his life all his lands.
Whoever sent him abroad, or maintained him there, or assisted him with money or otherwise, incurred the same liabilities and penalties.
The crown divided the forfeiture with the informer; and when a person was proved to have sent abroad a bill of exchange or money, on him rested the burden of proving that the remittance was innocent, and he must do so before justices without the benefit of a jury.24
The Irish Catholics
were not only deprived of their
liberties, but even of the opportunity of worship, except by connivance.
Their clergy, taken from the humbler classes of the people,25
could not be taught at home, nor be sent for education beyond seas, nor be recruited by learned ecclesiastics from abroad.
Such priests as were permitted to reside in Ireland
were required to be registered, and were kept like prisoners at large within prescribed limits.
All ‘papists’ exercising ecclesiastical jurisdiction, all monks, friars, and regular priests, and all priests not then actually in parishes, and to be registered, were banished from Ireland26
under pain of transportation, and, on a return, of being hanged, drawn, and quartered.27
Avarice was stimulated to apprehend them by the promise of a reward;28
he that should harbor or conceal them was to be stripped of all his property.
When the registered priests were dead, the law, which was made perpetual, applied to every popish priest.29
By the laws of William and of Anne, St. Patrick, in Ireland
, in the eighteenth century, would have been a felon.
Any two justices of the peace might call before them any Catholic, and make inquisition as to when he heard mass, who were present, and what Catholic schoolmaster or priest he knew of; and the penalty for refusal to answer was a fine or a year's imprisonment.
The Catholic priest, abjuring his religion, received a pension30
of thirty, and afterwards of forty, pounds.31
And, in spite of these laws, there were, it
is said, four thousand Catholic clergymen in Ireland
and the Catholic
worship gained upon the Protestant, so attractive is sincerity when ennobled by persecution, even though ‘the laws did not presume a papist to exist there, and did not allow them to breathe but by the connivance of the government.’32
The Catholic Irish had been plundered of six sevenths of the land by iniquitous confiscations; every acre of the remaining seventh was grudged them by the Protestants.
No nonconforming Catholic could buy land, or receive it by descent, devise, or settlement; or lend money on it, as the security; or hold an interest in it through a Protestant trustee; or take a lease of ground for more than thirty-one years. If, under such a lease, he brought his farm to produce more than one-third beyond the rent, the first Protestant discoverer might sue for the lease before known Protestants, making the defendant answer all interrogatories on oath; so that the Catholic
farmer dared not drain his fields, nor inclose them, nor build solid houses on them.
If in any way he improved their productiveness, his lease was forfeited.
It was his interest rather to deteriorate the country, lest envy should prompt some one to turn him out of doors.33
In all these cases the forfeitures were in favor of Protestants.
Even if a Catholic owned a horse worth more than five pounds, any Protestant might take it away.34
Nor was natural affection or parental authority respected.
The son of a Catholic landholder, however dissolute or however young, if he
would but join the English church, could revolt
against his father, and turn his father's estate in fee simple into a tenancy for life, becoming himself the owner, and annulling every agreement made by the father, even before his son's conversion.
The dominion of the child over the property of the Popish parent was universal.
The Catholic father could not in any degree disinherit his apostatizing son; but the child, in declaring himself a Protestant, might compel his father to confess upon oath the value of his substance, real and personal, on which the Protestant court
might out of it award the son immediate maintenance, and after the father's death, any establishment it pleased.
A new bill might at any time be brought by one or all of the children, for a further discovery.
If the parent, by his industry, improved his property, the son might compel a new account of the value of the estate, in order to a new disposition.
The father had no security against the persecution of his children but by abandoning all acquisition or improvement.35
, of which by far the greater part had been confiscated since the reign of Henry VII., and much of it more than once, passed away from the ancient Irish
The proprietors in fee were probably fewer than in an equal area in any part of Western Europe
The consequence was, an unexampled complication of titles.
The landlord in chief was often known only as having dominion over the estate; leases of large tracts had been granted for very long terms of years; these were again subdivided to those who subdivided them once
more, and so on indefinitely.
Mortgages brought a
new and numerous class of claimants.
Thus humane connection between the tenant and landlord was not provided for. Leases were in the last resort most frequently given at will; and then what defence had the Irish Catholic
against his Protestant superior?
Hence the thatched mud cabin, without window or chimney; the cheap fences; the morass undrained; idleness in winter; the tenant's concealment of good returns: for to spend his savings in improving his farm would have been giving them to his immediate landlord.
To the native Irish
oligarchy appeared not in the attitude of kind proprietors, whom residence and a common faith, long possession and hereditary affection united with the tenantry, but as men of a different race and creed, who had acquired the island by force of arms, rapine, and chicane, and derived revenues from it by the employment of extortionate underlings or overseers.
This state of society, as a whole, was what ought not to be endured, and the English
were conscious of it. The common law respects the right of self-defence; yet the Irish Catholics
, or Popish recusants as they were called, were, by one universal prohibition,36
forbidden using or keeping any kind of weapons whatsoever, under penalties which the Crown could not remit.
Any two justices might enter a house and search for arms, or summon any person whomsoever, and tender him an oath, of which the repeated refusal was punishable as treason.
Such was the Ireland
of the Irish;--a conquered
people, whom the victors delighted to trample upon, and did not fear to provoke.37
Their industry within the kingdom was prohibited or repressed by law, and then they were calumniated as naturally idle.
Their savings could not be invested on equal terms in trade, manufactures, or real property; and they were called improvident.
The gates of learning were shut on them, and they were derided as ignorant.
In the midst of privations they were cheerful.
Suffering for generations under acts which offered bribes to treachery, their integrity was not debauched; no son rose against his father, no friend betrayed his friend.
Fidelity to their religion, to which afflictions made them cling more closely, chastity, and respect for the ties of family, remained characteristics of the downtrodden race.
America as yet offered it no inviting asylum, though her influence was soon to mitigate its sorrows and relax its bonds.
Relief was to come through the conflicts of the North American
colonies with Great Britain
, in so far as both were oppressed by the commercial monopoly of England
, had a common cause; and while the penal laws against the Catholics did not affect the Anglo-Irish
, they suffered equally with the native Irish
from the mercantile system.
The restrictions of the acts of trade38
extended not to America
only, but to the sister kingdom.
It had harbors, but it could not send a sail across the Atlantic
, nor ship directly to the colonies, even in English vessels, any thing but ‘servants, and horses, and
and at last linens;40
nor receive sugar, or
coffee, or other colonial produce, but from England
Its great staple was wool; its most important natural manufacture was the woollen.
‘I shall do all that lies in my power to discourage the woollen manufactures of Ireland
,’ said William of Orange
The exportation of Irish woollens to the colonies and to foreign countries was prohibited;42
and restrictive laws so interfered with the manufacture that it seemed probable, Irishmen would not be able to wear a coat of their own fabric.43
In the course of years the ‘English colonists’ themselves began to be domiciliated in Ireland
and with the feeling that the country in which they dwelt was their home, there grew up discontent that it continued to be treated as a conquered country.
Proceeding by insensible degrees, they at length maintained openly the legislative equality of the two kingdoms.
In 1692, the Irish House of Commons claimed ‘the sole and undoubted right to prepare and resolve the means of raising money.’45
In 1698,46 Molyneux
, an Irish Protestant, and member for the University of Dublin
, asserted, through the press,47
the perfect and reciprocal independence of the Irish and English parliaments; that Ireland
was not bound by the acts of a legislative body in which it was not represented.
Two replies were written to the tract, which was also formally condemned by the English House
in 1719 the Irish House of Lords
denied for Ireland
the judicial power of the House of Lords of Great Britain
, the British parliament, making a precedent for all its outlying dominions, enacted, that ‘the king, with the consent of the parliament of Great Britain, had, hath, and of right ought to have full power and authority to make laws and statutes of force to bind the people and the kingdom of Ireland
But the opposite opinion was confirmed among the Anglo-Irish statesmen.
The Irish people set the example of resisting English laws by voluntary agreements to abstain from using English manufactures,50
and the patriot party had already acquired strength and skill, just at the time when the British parliament, by its purpose of taxing the American
colonies, provoked their united population to raise the same questions, and in their turn to deny its power.
But besides the conforming Protestant population, there was in Ireland
another class of Protestants who shared in some degree the disqualifications of the Catholics.
To Queen Anne's bill for preventing the further growth of Popery,51
a clause was added in England
and ratified by the Irish parliament, that none should be capable of any public employment, or of being in the magistracy of any city, who did not receive the sacrament according to the English
thus disfranchising the whole body of Presbyterians.
At home, where the Scottish nation
enjoyed its own religion, the people were loyal: in Ireland
, the disfranchised Scotch Presbyterians, who still drew their ideas of Christian government from the Westminster Confession
, began to believe that they were under no religious obligation to render obedience to the British
They could not enter the Irish parliament to strengthen the hands of the patriot party; nor were they taught by their faith to submit in patience, like the Catholic Irish
Had all Ireland
resembled them, it could not have been kept in subjection.
But what could be done by unorganized men, constituting only about a tenth of the people, in the land in which they were but sojourners?
They were willing to quit a soil which was endeared to them by no traditions; and the American
colonies opened their arms to receive them.
They began to change their abode as soon as they felt oppression;54
and every successive period of discontent swelled the tide of emigrants.
Just after the peace of Paris
, ‘the Heart
of Oak’ Protestants of Ulster
, weary of strife with their landlords, came over in great numbers;55
and settlements on the Catawba, in South Carolina
, dated from that epoch.56
At different times in the eighteenth century, some had found homes in New-England
, but they were most numerous south of New-York
, from New-Jersey
they peopled many coun-
ties, till, in public life, they already balanced the influence of the Quakers.
, they went up the valley of the Shenandoah
; and they extended themselves along the tributaries of the Catawba
, in the beautiful upland region of North Carolina
Their training in Ireland
had kept the spirit of liberty and the readiness to resist unjust government as fresh in their hearts, as though they had just been listening to the preachings of Knox
, or musing over the political creed of the Westminster Assembly.
They brought to America
no submissive love for England
; and their experience and their religion alike bade them meet oppression with prompt resistance.
We shall find the first voice publicly raised in America
to dissolve all connection with Great Britain
came, not from the Puritans of New-England
, or the Dutch
, or the planters of Virginia
, but from Scotch-Irish Presbyterians.