Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

and to cut off their heads without any impeachment of our sovereigo Lord the King, his officers, or ministers, or any others; and of any head so cut in the county of Meath, that the cutter of the said head, and his aiders there to him, do cause the said head so cut, to be brought to the Portreeve of the town of Trim, and the said Portreeve shall give him his writing under the seat of the said town, testifying the bringing the said head to him. And it shall be lawful for the bringer of the said head and his aiders to the same, to distrain and levy with their own hands, of every man having one plough land, one penny, and of every other cotter having house and smoke, one half-penny; and if the Portreeve shall refuse such certificate, he is to forfeit £10 recoverable by action."

The Irish Brehon law, to which the people were religiously attached was so humanė that no capital punishment was allowed for any

crime whatever. This statute, therefore, must have been peculiarly atrocious in the eyesof the Irish. What is meant by the distinction between robbing with a man of good fame in English apparel, and robbing without such a companion, requires a key, which is only to be found in the gross barbarity of the lawgivers. Perhaps the English were not only privileged to rob, but any one of them, might protect a whole gang. Such as it is, this statute was passed under the auspices and immediate government of Lionel duke of Clarence, son to the king.

LANGUAGE.

28 Hen. 8. c. 15. Every subject of the king inhabiting in this island, shall, to the uttermost of their power and knowledge, use and speak commonly the English language, and shall endeavour themselves to procure their children (if they have any) to speak the same, and accordiog to their abilities, shall bring them up in such places where they shall have occasion to learn the same language, upon pain that every lord spiritual andtemporal offending herein, shall forfeit for every offence 6l. 13s. 4d. every knight and esquire, 31. 6s. 8d. every gentleman and merchant 40s. every free-holder and yeoman 20s.every husbandman, 10s. and every other of the king's subjects within this land, 3s. 4d. one half to the king, and the other to the party that will sue for the same by action of debt, &c. in any of the king's courts, wherein no essoin, shall be allowed.

If any spiritual promotion within this land (chargeable with the

payment of first fruits to the king) at any time become yoid, such as have title to nominate, &c. shall nominate, &c. to the same, such a person as cap speak English, and none other, unless there be po person that can speak English will accept it ; and if the patron cannot up08 inquiry (within three months after such avoidance) get any such person that can speak English, to accept the same, then he shall cause four proclamations to be openly made, at four several market days, in the next market town adjojping to the said spiritual promotion ; that if any fit person that can speak English, will come and take the same, be shall have it: and if none come, within five weeks of the first proclamation, to take the same, then the patron may present any honest, able person, albeit he cannot speak English.

And if any patron do nominate, &c. one that cannot speak English, contrary to the form before recited, and being lawfully convicted thereof, upon inquiry or presentation, before any of the king's judges, then such nomination, &c. shall be void, and the king shall nomia ate, present, and give the same to any person that can speak English, and no other : and if the king be interrupted, he shall have a Quare Impedit against the disturber, and recover the presentation thereof for that time, in like form as he should have done for apy

other

prosentation of his own patronage, and if the king present any person that cannot speak English, then the same shall be void, and the patron's former gift to stand in force. Such presentation of the king, shall not prejudice those who at that time had right to the same, but that they may (upon the next avoidance) nominate or give, &c. the same as though no such nomination, &c. had been had by the king.

And every archbishop, bishop, suffragan, and every other, having power to give order of priest-hood, deacon, or sub-deacon, shall at the time of giving such orders, give a corporal oath, to the person so taking any of the said orders as aforesaid, that he shall to the uttermost of his power, endeavour hirself to learn the English tongue and language and use the Englisk order and fashions (if he may learn and attain the same by possibility) in the place where his cure or dwelling shall be, and shall move and teach all others being under his govern: ance, to perform the same: aud every such archbishop, &c. having power to admit, &c. any person to any spiritual promotion, shall, at the time thereof, give unto the person so addmitted, &e. a corporal oath, that he shall to his wit and

cunning, endeavour bimself to learp and teach the English tongue to all under his cure or governance, and shall bid the beads, and preach the word of God in English, (if he

eap prench;) and for his owo part shall use the English order and hah. it, and more as many as he can to the same, and shall keep, or cause to be kept, within the place or parish where he shall be promoted, a school to learn English, if any children of his parish come to him to learn the same, taking for his salary (for keeping the same) as the cus tom of the country is.

Every archbishop, bishop, &c, having power to give orders or to admit, &c. offending herein contrary to the rules aforesaid, shall forfeit for every time 31. 68. 8d. one moiety to the king, and the other to that person that will sue for the same as aforesaid. And every person promoted to any spiritual promotion, that does not observe the effect of the said oath, shall (upon conviction thereof as aforesaid) forfeit for the first time 6s, and 8d. for the second time 208. and for the third, all such spiritual promotion; and the patron may present or give the same to any other sufficient and able person, ip like manner and form as if the incumbent were dead. This act shall not prejudice any beneficed within this land, that are bound to keep residence in any metropolitan cathedral or collegiate church, not being a student in any university, or in the king's service, or out of the land by the king's command; but that those who officiate under them, shall during their absence, teach the English tongue, and keep a school as the act directs, upon pain that every such parish-priest, for every year he omits the same, shall forfeit 208. This act to take no effect until it be openly proclaimed in due form.

SECOND EPOCH.

From the Reformation to the Revolution.

If the reformed religion had been presented to the Irish under any inviting or persuasive aspect; if the monarch who established it as law, had been a saint-like personage, of a holy and pious life, and faithful to all the relations of life; constant and steady in his own belief; tender of the rights and cousciences of his subjects; patient, tolerant, and merciful, it would have been time enough to have accused the Irish for not instantly quitting the faith inculcated by the venerated Saint Patrick.''

If the clergy sent over to teach the new religion had been able to jastruct the Irish in its blessings and advantages, in a language that they could understand; men holy in their lives and reverend in their

example, professiug charity and doing good, it would have been less. violent to treat them as wicked and obstinate. But if this reforming monarch was the greatest monster that history exhibits; who had established creeds and articles, and forced men under penalties to swear to them and believe them, and then for the purposes of lust and murder, violating every tender relation, and every feeling of human nature, established creeds and articles directly the reverse, under penalty of ruin, death, and infamy; and if the missionaries of the new gospel were the scum of the earth, low, vulgar, ignorant and rapacious; wantonly exposing their own religion to scorn, that fines might be levied for not conforming to it; with the sentiments of horse-jockeys and the hearts of wolves; then why shonld a people having no vicious motives, no wives to murder, no wish to bastardise their own issue, quit what they believed to be the word of God, to go to church and hear the word of Henry the Eighth, and the prayers and preachings of clergy who reviled what they held sacred, althougb they had themselves been so lately enjoined by statute to “bid the beads" to the Irish in the English tongue.

The statutes enforced against the Irish during this second epoch are of pure English mauufacture, and may be found in any lawyer's library, in the English statutes at large, in all the abridgements of those statutes, and in the most familiar abridgements of the law, particularly that of Bacon, and through all the reports and treatises, civil and criminal, under the heads of popery and papist, heresy, witchcraft, dissenters, recusants, offences against God and religion, conformity, uniformity, &c.In England they fell upon a smaller number, in Irel. and they were visited upon a whole people. The operations of the ecclesiastical commissioners, the star chamber, (or castle chamber) and the spiritual courts, went hand in hand with the commissioners of defective titles, and between these and forfeitures by acts of attainder and forfeiture for treason and rebellion, there was scarcely an acre of land that was not seized and confiscated, and sometimes a second and a third time, even in the hands of the confiscators themselves.

The statute upon which most money was raised was 2 Eliz. c. 2. $ 3. which commands all persons to resort to the parish church, or some usual place where such service of God, as in the book of common prayer, shall be used, and to abide there soberly and orderly during the time of prayer or preaching, upon pain of punishment by the censures of the church, and of 12 pence for every Sunday or holiday, to be levied by way of distress by the church wardens.

The ecclesiastical courts, says Bishop Burnet in his life of Bedel; p. 37, were managed by a chancellor who bought his place, and made of it all the profits he could, and their whole business seemed to be nothing but oppression and extortion. "The solemnest and sacredest of all church ceasures, excommunicatioon, went about in so sordid and base a manner that all regard to it as a spiritual censure was lost, and it became an intolerable tyramy. The officers of those courts thought they had a right to oppress the natives, and that all was well got that was wrung from them.” Bulls went bare-faced, and the exchange they made of pedance for money, was the worst of simony. >It is related by Carte, and also in the Analectica Sacra, that Sir Oliver St. John, on coming over from England as Lord Deputy, did put the statute 2 Elizabeth and all other penal statutes, in strict execution. He caused presentments to be made in the different parts of the kingdom. The effects of his rigor were dismal and extensive. The treasures of the rich were soon exhausted, and the poor, not being able to pay this tax upon their consciences, every where fled into dens and caverns, from the cruel collectors of it, where they were sometimes pursued by blood-hounds, set on and followed by a sheriff and a posse of disbanded soldiers, equally furious and unrelenting; and even the dead bodies of those who fell under those holy censurers, did not escape the cruelty, but were denied christian burial, and their corpses were thrown iuto holes dug in the high-ways, with every mark of ignominy that could be devised and inflicted by their wicked and bigotted judges. See also Doctor Curry. Mem. Civ. Wars, vol. 1. p. 102. -" The Irish Commons oncé remonstrated to the king (Irish Com. Jour. v. 1. p. 258) that the judges of the ecclesiastical courts took money for holy water, for anointing, for mortuary muttons, mary gallons, St. Patrick's ridge, soul money, and the like: and that the protestant bishops exposéd their religion to sale and to contempt in those ecclesiastical courts, and that the catholics were willing to redeem themselves from these exactions, by maintaining for the king Charles I. an army of five thousand foot and five hundred horse.Against this there was a protest by primate Usher and twelve bishops, which was solemnly read by the bishop of Derry before the Deputy and Privy Council in Christ's Church. This prevailed; the offer was scornfully rejected, and the sufferers and their religion scurrilously abused.

..

« PredošláPokračovať »