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total of the clergy was found to be eighteen hundred. Of these, a great part, perhaps the majority, were old and inactive. One hundred and sixteen of them had been ordained by the martyred Archbishop Plunkett, nearly forty years previously, and a number of others by that bishop's contemporaries. The perils of the order were greatly increased, by the passage, in 1708, of an act obliging all “registered priests to take the oath of abjuration before the 25th of March, 1710.” This oath, denying transubstantiation, the invocation of saints, and declaring the mass idolatrous, no priest could take. Here, of course, was a new field for the informers. To make their cruel trade respectable, the precious Parliament, which cut out their work, resolved, “ that the prosecuting and informing against Papists was an honorable service, and that all magistrates who neglected to execute these laws were betrayers of the liberties of the kingdom."* Hard and desperate times those for all " Jesuits and seminary priests," who feared God more than death or transportation.

At this time, the wisdom of Providence had placed in the see of Armagh a most prudent and able man, Dr. Hugh McMahon. Born in 1660, educated at Louvain, he could remember the martyrdom of at least two of his predecessors. Nothing dismayed, he assumed, in 1708, their perilous place, and in the midst of its many duties, which he openly or secretly continued to discharge, he found leisure for the preparation of a very valuable work, on the primacy and history of the church of Armagh. He lived to rejoice in the first faint symptoms of toleration, and to see the episcopal body gradually filling up around him. I

Hib. Dom. p. 155.

* Irish Commons Journal, vol. iii. p. 319.

1. There was not left,” says Dr. Burke, in his History of the Irish Dominicans, " a single house

of that order, which was not suppressed.”. The following striking story is told of Primate McMahon : “The Irish witnesses soon squandered the money

which they

had received for proving the plot and swearing away the primate's life. For a time they managed to support themselves by swearing against

Shaftesbury and their old employers. But even this failed them, and they were quickly brought


As under the Stuarts so in this reign and the next, the faithful laity suffered proportionably to the clergy. The few members of the Catholic gentry still left with any vestige of property were obliged to resort to their own unused energies. One of the chief of these was O’Conor, of Roscommon, the lineal descendant of Roderick, the last of the Celtic kings. Holding the plough with his own hands, he would exhort his sons against pride, telling them to remember that, though he

was the son of a gentleman, they were the sons of a ploughman." The heir of this excellent man fortunately lived to occupy another position, in after times, towards his countrymen.

The Catholic townsmen, who followed any trade or craft, felt quite as bitterly the results of the proscription. In the writings of Swift, from which a perfect picture of Irish society in his time might be drawn, we find them reported to be “altogether as inconsiderable as the women and children.""

“ The common people, without leaders, without discipline, or natural courage, being little better than hewers of wood and drawers of water, are out of all capacity of doing any mischief, if they were ever. so well inclined.” In one or two other passages

of his writings we find enough to satisfy us that Swift was fairly disposed towards his Catholic countrymen, but

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to a state of the most wretched destitution. Florence McMoyer was so far reduced that he was obliged to pawn, for five pounds, the celebrated • Book of Armagh,' which thus passed out of his family, where it had remained for many centuries. Nor was this the worst evil against which these miserable beings had to contend; for they were now universally abhorred and detested even by their former abetters, and lived in daily terror of being punished, perhaps hanged, for their perjuries. They had now no friends, for they had been equally faithless and false to all parties. They were, moreover, tormented by the hell of a guilty conscience, for the crime of murder was upon their souls. One of those miscreants, Duffy, old, emaciated, abhorred, exiled from his church, and tortured with remorse, visited a successor of Dr. Plunkett, (Dr. McMahon,) and as he approached him, exclaimed in an agony of soul, •Am I never to have peace? Is there no mercy for me?' The prelate heard him in silence, then opened a glass case, and in a deep and solemn voice said, Look here, thou unfortunate wretch !' The head of his murdered primate was before him; he saw, knew it, and swooned away." This miserable man was reconciled to the church, and died penitent.


they were seemingly so powerless, that he had no prospect of doing good by undertaking their cause.

He consequently alludes to them, but cautiously and incidentally.* We can conceive something of their situation in towns and cities from two petitions sent into the Irish Parliament in Anne's reign. One, from " the Protestant coal porters of Dublin," complained that Darby Ryan, “a captain under the late King James, and à Papist notoriously disaffected, bought up whole cargoes of coal, and employed those of his own persuasion and affection to carry the same to customers.” Another petition was from the hackney coachmen, praying “that it might be enacted that none but Protestant hackney coachmen might have liberty to keep or drive hackney coaches.” † How these “prayers" must have edified the Dean of St. Patrick's !

So low had the once high spirit of that people fallen, that these indignities were patiently born by the majority. All of spirit, who could do so, exiled themselves. Others, unable to emigrate, and unable to control their indignation, suffered severely for occasional exhibitions of manly spirit. The meanest Protestant regarded himself as far above the noblest Catholic. The former were known by their audacity and assurance of manner, while, in 1730, a shrewd observer declares that a Catholic might be told by his stooped carriage and subdued manner. We hear, without surprise, therefore, that the Irish abroad are a good deal disgusted with their brethren at home; that when, in 1715, “ the old pretender” (James III.) makes a desperate effort to regain the triple crown of the islands, no help for him işsues out of Ireland. He has Irishmen in his army, of course, but they come from the continent, not from "home.” They do their devoir bravely, according to the custom of their country, at Killiecrankie, and some of them lie long in prison


* In Reasons for repealing the Test in Favor of Roman Catholics, in Dublin Cries, and his Correspondence.

† Quoted in Captain Rock, p. 124.
| Life and Writings of Charles O'Connor, vol i. P.


after the battle of Preston. Conspicuous among them is Sir Charles Wogan,* descended of that dashing Cavalier who cut his way through Puritan England, in Cromwell's days, and, with his stout two hundred horse, joined the friends of King Charles in the Scottish Highlands.

Perhaps the indifference of the Irish at home to the Stuart cause, in 1715, helped them; in 1745, it certainly did. Though additional penal laws continued to be passed till the middle of the century, it is certain that the actual persecution somewhat abated after the accession of the present dynasty.

Shall we venture to describe the effects of these penal laws of Queen Anne ? The most eloquent Catholic of this century declared that language failed him in the attempt, and, in the poverty of language, he borrowed Edmund Burke's striking description: “ It was a machine of wise and elaborate contrivance, and as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment, and deg. radation of a people, and the debasement in them of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.”

* Sir Charles was a worthy descendant of that famous Cavalier mentioned in the text. He won his knightly rank from the hands of the pope, by rescuing, alone and unhelped, the Princess Sobieskiy, betrothed to "the old pretender,” from the fortress of Innspruck, in the Tyrol, and conveying her safe to Rome. After his English imprisonment, he had command of a regiment in Spain, from which he sent Swift a present of pure wine, accompanied by a Latin poem, and one of the noblest pieces of English prose in the language. In this letter, Wogam says of his fellow refugees, “They have shown a great deal of gallantry in the defence of foreign states and princes, with very little advantage to themselves but that of being free, and without half the outward marks of distinction they deserved. These southern governments are very slow in advancing foreigners to considerable or gainful perferments.” coe's Edition of Swift's Works, vol. ii. p. 667.” The entire letter is worthy of repeated readings.






In this desperate struggle for the maintenance of religion in Ireland, she had numerous auxiliaries in the colleges founded for the education of her students on the continent. Of these and their founders some account is called for.

The native Irish schools had never fully recovered from the effects of the Danish wars. The revival of Irish education by St. Malachy was extinguished under the Norman invasion, and the greater foreign institutions founded at Paris, Salamanca, and Rome became the favorite resorts of Irish scholars during the middle ages. When England adopted a new faith, and her rulers began to wage their deadly warfare against Catholic education, what had been before the choice of the islanders became then their necessity.

From its situation and renown, the University of Louvain, founded by John, Duke of Brabant, in 1425, was much frequented by the Irish, even in the sixteenth century. Peter Lombard, afterwards Archbishop of Armagh, (King James's special friend,) and O’Hurley, the martyred Archbishop of Cashel, graduated there, with high honor. In conjunction with this university, Florence Conroy, Archbishop of Tuam, (“who, for various reasons, would not be safe among the English,” says his friend O'Sullivan,) founded the Irish College of St. Anthony, A. D. 1617. The funds for this purpose were generously supplied by the viceroys, Albert and Isabella, then governing at Brussels. Dr. Conroy caused an Irish press to be erected, from which, for more than a century, the greater part of the catechisms and manuals used in Ireland were secretly obtained. Here the learned founder prepared his Commentaries on St. Augustin, and here Ward,

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