Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 13.djvu/156

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ment, from the corporations, from the learned pro- fessions, from civil and military offices, from being ex- ecutors, or administrators, or guardians of property, from holding land under lease, or from owning a horse worth £5. They were deprived of arms and of the franchise, denied education at home and punished if they sought it abroad, forbidden to observe Catho- lic Holy Days, to make pilgrimages, or to continue to use the old "monasteries as the burial places of their dead. For the clergy there was no mercy, nothing but prison, exile, or death.

After the Cathohcs had vainly protested against the Bill "To Prevent the Further Growth of Popery" of 1704. their protests ceased. The more energetic of them went abroad; those at home ware torpid and inert, the peasantry steeped in poverty and igno- rance, the clergy and gentry sunk in servitude, and all of them afraid even to complain of their condition lest the anger of their t>Tants might be provoked. At last the tide turned. 'The Irish Parliament became less bigoted, and after 1750 or thereabouts no more penal laws were passed. Indeed the work of crush- ing and debasing the Catholics had been so well done that they were paupers and slaves, and to crush them still further would give the Protestants no ad- ditional security. Some Catholics had made money in trade and lent it to needy Protestant landlords, and these and their friends in Parliament would naturally favour toleration; the fact that the Catho- lics had" so long been peaceable, and had given no support to the Pretenders showed that they no longer clung to the Stuarts; and this greatly strengthened their position both in England and Ireland. The growth of a strong sentiment of nationality among Irish Protestants also helped their cause. Claiming powers which it did not pos.sess, the British Parlia- ment asserted and exercised the right to legislate for Ireland, treated the Irish Parliament with disdain, and in the interests of Enghsh manufacturers im-

e>sed ruinous commercial restrictions on Irish trade, issatisfied with their English friends, the Irish Protestants turned to their own Catholic country- men, and the more Catholics and Protestants came together, the better for the cause of religious tolera- tion. This turn of affairs in.spired the Catholics with hope and courage, and three of them, Dr. Curn,', a Dublin physician, Mr. Wyse of Waterford, and Mr. Charles O'Connor, formed, in 17.59. a Catho- lic As.sociation, which was to meet at Dublin, cor- respond with representative Catholics in the countrj', and watch over Catholic interests. But such was the spiritless condition of the Catholics that the gentn." and clerg>' held aloof, and the new a.ssociation was chiefly manned by Dublin merchants. Under its auspices a loyal was presented to the viceroy, and another to George III on his accession to the throne, and the Catholics rejoiced that both addresses were grafdously received.

These friendlier dispositions, however, were slow to develop into legi.slative enactments, and not until 1771 did the first instalment of emancipation come. By the Act of that year Catholics were allowed to reclaim and hold imder lease for sixty-one years fifty acrf« of bog, but it should not be within a mile of any city or market town. Three years later an oath of allegiance was Hubstituted for that of supremacy. A further concession was granted in 1778 when Cat holies were allowwl to hoUl leases of lanfl for 999 years, and might inherit land in the same way as Protf;stantH, the jireamble of the Ar-t deelaring that the law was naswrl to reward Catholics for their long-continued y>e:tceable behaviour, anrl for the purpfjse of allowing thr-m to enjoy "the blessings of our frctf; constitution ". Distnist of them, however, continued, and thf>ugh they subscribed money to equip the volunteers, they would not be admitted within the rauka. Nor was the Irish Parliament of

1782 wnlhng to do more than to repeal the law com- pelling bishops to quit the kingdom, and the law bmding those who had assisted at Mass to give the celebrant's name. Further, Catholics were no longer prohibited from owning a horse worth £5, and Catholic schools might be opened with the consent of the Protestant bisnop of the diocese. These small concessions were not supplemented by others for ten years.

Dissensions and jealousies were largely responsible for this slow progress. Between the Catholic landed gentry and the Catholic merchants there was little in common except their religion. The timidity and submission to authority of the former, and the bolder and freer spirit of the latter were difficult to blend, and in 1763 the Catholic Association fell to pieces. After ten years of inactivitj^ a Catholic committee was formed partly out of the debris of the defunct association. Its chairman was the Earl of Kenmare, and again it was sought to have all Catholics act to- gether. But Kenmare was not the man to reconcile divergent views and methods, to form a homogeneous party out of discordant elements, and then with such a part}' to adopt a vigorous policy. His manner was cold, his tone one of patronage and superiority; he disliked agitation as savouring of vulgarity and sedi- tion, and preferred to seek redress by submissive petitions, slavish protestations of loyalty, and secret intrigue; and when an overwhelming majority of the Catholic Committee favoured manlier measures, he and si.\ty-eight others who sympathized with him seceded from its ranks. This was in 1791. The committee then chose for its leader John Keogh, a Dublin merchant of great ability, strong, manly, fearless, prudent btit firm, a man who favoured bolder measures and a decisive tone. Instead of begging for small concessions he demanded the re- peal of the whole penal code, a demand considered so extravagant that it had few friends in Parliament. When that assemblj^ was made independent it had not been reformed; and Grattan had foolishly allowed the volunteers to lay aside their swords before the battle of reform had been won.

Unrepresentative and corrupt. Parliament con- tinued to be dominated by pensioners and placemen, and under the influence of Fitzgibbon and Foster, two Irishmen and two bigots, it refused to advance further on the path of concession. Even Charlemont and Flood would not join emancipation with parlia- mentary reform, and while willing to safeguard Catholic liberty and property would give Catholics no political power. But this attitude of intolerance and exclusion could not be indefinitely maintained. The French Revolution was in progress, and a young and powerful republic had arisen |ireaching the rights of man, the iniquity of dii^tinctions and re- ligious persecution, and proclaiming its readiness to aid all nations who were oppressed and desired to be free. attractive doctrines rapidly seized on men's minds, and Ireland did not escape the con- tagion. The Ulster Presbyterians celebrated with en- thu.siasm the fall of the Bastille, and in 1791 founded the Society of United Irishmen, having as the two chief planks in its prf)gramme Parliamentary reform and Catholic EmiUi(ii):Ui<)n. The Catholics and Di.ssenters, so long dividi'd by religious antagonism, were corning togctlicr, and if they made a tinited de- mand for ('({\i:i\ rights for all Irislmien, witliout dis- tinction of creed, tlie jiscendency of the ]';i)iscopalian Protestants, wlio were but a tenth of the population, must neee.ssarily disappear. Yet the selfish and cor- rupt junta wlio" ruled the Parliament, and ruled Ire- land, would not yield an inch f>f ground, and only under the strongest pressure from lOngland was an act passed in 1792 admitting Catholics to the Bar, legalizing marriages between Catholics and Protes- tants, and allowing Catholic schools to be set up