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.’1
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.2
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.3
Nor was natural affection or parental authority respected.
The son of a Catholic landholder, however dissolute or however young, if he