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[69]

The Irish Catholics were not only deprived of their

chap. IV.} 1763.
liberties, but even of the opportunity of worship, except by connivance. Their clergy, taken from the humbler classes of the people,1 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 Ireland2 under pain of transportation, and, on a return, of being hanged, drawn, and quartered.3 Avarice was stimulated to apprehend them by the promise of a reward;4 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.5 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 pension6 of thirty, and afterwards of forty, pounds.7 And, in spite of these laws, there were, it

1 Edmund Burke's Letter to a Peer in Ireland on the Penal Laws against Irish Catholics, 21 February, 1782.

2 7 and 9 William III. c. XXVI.

3 2 Anne.

4 8 Anne.

5 Edmund Burke's Fragments of a Tract on the Popery Laws, c. II.

6 8 Anne.

7 11 and 12 Geo. III. c. XXVII.

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